BY ALICE ZHOU
The administration is evaluating the current bell schedule at UHS and plan to vote on whether a new bell schedule will be implemented for the school year of 2019-2020.
After Woodbridge High School (WHS) changed to 8-period block schedule in the fall semester of 2018, UHS became the last high school in IUSD using a different schedule. The administration established the Leadership Team, including all department chairs, two counselors, and ASB advisors, to investigate the pros and cons of the current schedule and the intended schedule options.
So far, the Leadership Team has discussed pros and cons of a potential schedule change with all teachers at UHS and gathered feedback from three other high schools which have recently shifted to using block schedule. The administration plans to continue investigating the positives and negatives from different perspectives of students, teachers, and parents.
The intended schedule aims to address the lack of teacher collaboration time, inability to take visual/performance art classes, and large class size as a result of the current schedule. One potential change considered is shifting to a block schedule with four periods alternating every other day. However, adding one extra period may increase the workload and stress on students and the alternative schedule will lower the frequency of students meeting their teachers per week and potentially decrease class time- instructional class time per subject at Oxford Academy after a similar schedule change has reduced from 5 hours per week to 3.2 hours.
Most teachers think a new schedule is unnecessary.
“We have a nice variety of class length, students get to see all of their teachers 4 [times a] week and all of their teachers at the beginning and end of each week,” Science Department Chair David Knight said. “If we saw students fewer times per week I think a lot of students could see more independent work being done at home, work that would have probably been done in during class time with our current schedule.”
Teachers also expressed concern about the length of periods in a block schedule.
“I’m not opposed to a schedule change,” political science teacher Mr. Budde said. “ [But], the only thing I would miss is our short periods, the fifty-four minute period, because … I feel like it’s just enough time to dive into something and to talk about something. Sometimes with the ninety-minute period, as a teacher… [I] maybe push things longer than they really need to go.”
However, some teachers are open-minded towards the potential change.
“We definitely have place for improvement,” AP Statistics teacher Mrs. Hsieh said. “If so many schools are using [the block schedule], it must have some positives.”
Students from WHS seem to favor the new block schedule.
“We get two days to do homework!” senior Alisa Khodos from Woodbridge High School said. “You only have 3 to 4 classes a day! [The] teachers don’t feel as rushed in class! Most people only take 6 classes, which means they can leave school at around 1:50. In the past, school would end at 3:15.”
Most students at UHS are not opposed to a schedule change.
“I would definitely take an 8th period,” sophomore Clair Choi said. “I also think we should have OH the same amount or more times a week. A concern I would have is how this would affect athletics as sports practices and games usually take place after 6th period.”
Some students believe that the schedule change may reduce homework-related stress.
“I like not having all my homework due on one day,” junior Pooja Kowshik said. “But I don’t know if [block schedule] will make the day longer.
The Leadership Team and the administration plan to conduct more investigation and discussion throughout the rest of February and early March. Staff will vote on the potential schedule change on March 11 and 12.