By ALICE ZHOU
UHS staff voted to maintain the school’s current schedule next school year rather than switch to an 8-Period Block Schedule, with 61% in favor of the current schedule and 39% in favor of the 8-Period Block on Tuesday, March 12.
Originally, the Leadership Team, including all department chairs, two counselors, and the ASB advisors, considered three potential bell schedules — the current schedule, the Modified Current Schedule, and the 8-Period Block schedule. The Modified Current Schedule pushed the current schedule 30 minutes later, while the 8-Period Block Schedule increased the number of periods to eight, with 85-minute odd periods on Monday and Wednesday, even periods Tuesday and Thursday, and all eight periods Friday.
The vote was a two-ballot process which took place over two consecutive days. On Monday, March 11, teachers were given Ballot One to vote on whether they preferred the 8-Period or Modified Schedule if the schedule were to be changed – among 108 teachers who voted, 51.9% of them voted for the 8-Period Block Schedule and the remaining 48.1% for the modified current schedule. This determined Ballot Two, which asked teachers to choose between the 8-Period Block Schedule and the current schedule and required a 60% vote in favor of a new schedule in order to change the schedule.
Certificated teachers, counselors, administration, and psychologists, including those from the DHH Department, were eligible to vote, but those who abstained from voting on the first day were not eligible to vote on the second day. Teachers who were absent on either day were allowed to send their decision by email.
The votes were recorded by a three-member team consisting of Administrative Assistant Ms. Smith, Physical Education teacher Ms. Salinger, and Head Counselor Ms. Strausheim both digitally and by hand to ensure accuracy.
The Leadership Team have been seriously investigating the positives and negatives of our current schedule and other possible schedule options throughout this school year. After receiving feedback from students, parents, and teachers, they formulated the three schedules during February. Staff has spent the past weeks discussing and preparing for the vote.
“The important thing to recognize is that Leadership Team specifically, and other teachers as well, have put in a lot of time and energy and thought in wrestling with this,” Principal Dr. Astor said. “It’s hard because it is not a perfect solution. Some things help some students and maybe don’t help others. . . I’m confident that at the end of the process we’ll have been really diligent looking all the different options.”
Out of 105 certificated staff members who participated in the second vote, 64 voted for the current schedule and 41 for the 8-Period Block schedule. As a result, the schedule will remain the same in the upcoming year.