UPDATED: UHS passes new bell schedule

UPDATED as of 1/31/14: Both components of the new bell schedule, the seven-period day and the advisement/homeroom period, have passed. Stay tuned for further updates.
University High School (UHS)’s  regular six-period schedule will be altered for the next school year.
79 percent of staff members voted to change the current schedule to a seven-period schedule, and 65 percent voted for the addition of a designated home room. All teachers had the opportunity to vote.
The seven-period bell schedule will consist of an optional zero period beginning at 7:00 a.m. For students who decide not to take a zero period, first period will begin at 8:00 a.m.
On Mondays and Tuesdays, each period will be 54 minutes long instead of 58 minutes. Lunch will take place after fourth period, and snack will be after second period.
On Wednesday, zero period and first period block will be before office hours and snack. However, office hours will be shortened to half an hour to accommodate for the zero period block.
The Thursday schedule will remain relatively similar to the current Thursday schedule. On Friday, zero period will start on 7:05 am, and each class will be 49 minutes due to the addition of homeroom after second period.
Students do not have to take seven periods, but if they want to do so, the additional class  must be an elective class. Also, classes that occur after school will be considered as zero period classes, and students will be able to take those classes within the school day. Two years ago, the eight-period schedule was proposed but denied.
Sofya Ogunseitan (So.) said, “If kids in Orchestra or Choir wanted to play a sport, they would be able to, since those classes would happen before school and sports take place after school.”
“Students have a lot on their plate with their six periods, and some of them have to come back for a seventh period, so having that embedded in the school day is a major benefit to them. I hope we can further track student performance and stress level next year and the following year to see if these benefits that we think will happen are really happening,” said Mr. Joseph Huber (Science Dept.).
Ms. Nora Seager (Social Science Dept.) said, “I’m not 100% sold on the fact that it will allow students to take new classes. It will help a certain group of students, but not a lot of kids. However, I still do see a large number of benefits from this.”
The homeroom is a 35-minute period every Friday where events such as IMPACT meetings, assemblies and counselor meetings would be held. All full-time teachers and administrators will have a homeroom. Students will have the same homeroom teacher until they graduate.
Mr. Matthew Pate (Admin.) said, “One of the things that came back on a student survey that was alarming to me was that 30 percent of students said that they did not have a meaningful relationship with an adult on campus. I’m not saying that the addition of the homeroom is the magic bullet for that, but we want something in our system that allows for the fostering of meaningful relationships outside of an academic setting.”
Ms. Nicole Bradshaw (Math Dept.) said, “I have a lot of stuff going on during fifth period with announcements and Univision. Now, my fifth period is just fifth period, and I don’t have to worry about that. I think homeroom could be fun because we can do activities and turn it into something more competitive. Also, if I’m going to have that student for four years, I am going to get close to that student.”
The new schedule will be implemented for the 2014-2015 year. However, if there are problems, the schedule may return to the regular six-period day.
Staff Writer