By Sloane Walsh ’25
As a courtesy of Mrs. Gum’s Design the School Winterim, students petitioned for updated dining hall hours and changes in the academic schedule. Thanks to these students, the dining hall has updated its hours and is now open for snack time during the day, but another change that students can thank the class for is an updated schedule for the 2023-2024 school year. Depending on campus-wide opinions, this schedule could be a significant upgrade or a failed experiment. Since this update brings up a lot of different views, what would students want added or removed from the academic schedule?
When considering the academic day, starting time for classes can be very important to students and teachers. An 8:15 start time can be rough for students and teachers, especially on Wednesdays after starting an hour earlier than on Tuesdays. From a teacher’s perspective, Ms. Petrillo is very used to our schedule but would appreciate a later start time so that students can be more prepared and awake when they come to class. Caroline Marich, ‘24, thinks that 8:45 is a perfect start time. A later time gives students enough time to prepare for class instead of arriving at 8:15, exhausted and unprepared to focus. Avery Clement, ‘25, does not like having 8:15 courses because she has to stay up late doing homework most nights and wakes up early to drive to school. A 9:15 start works well for her, as she can come to class well-rested and ready to learn.
Another critical factor to consider when changing a schedule is the length of classes. Caroline also agrees that class length is essential in the academic day, and sitting still trying to focus for a 70-minute period can be very difficult. Many other students feel the same way; the long class period is hard to sit through if the course is not interactive. For example, Mairin Hoffman ‘25 is not a fan of long blocks. They can feel very extensive and it is hard to pay attention, but at the same time, 40-minute blocks can be too short for some classes. Savanna Cicarelli likes the 40-minute blocks but does not want to have all of her classes in one day. She thinks having 70-minute blocks is too long and should be cut slightly shorter. 50 minutes would be the perfect in-between, giving students enough time to focus on a lesson without becoming as distracted.
Now for the argument about Saturday classes: Do we need them? It is much easier to have all classes on Friday. Avery Clement thinks Saturday classes lighten the Friday workload and keep her from having to work on ten assignments Thursday night. She would rather have a more balanced homework load and continue having Saturday classes, especially since the school has many community and sleep-in weekends. Savanna Cicarelli thinks that Saturday classes should start later, around 9, to give students more sleep-in, but overall she would rather have a day to rest. Having lessons on Saturday is a lot to manage for a student, especially since the class periods are an hour long.
Changing the schedule will be an exciting change for the school. Significantly, the school tests out different improvement methods, and Design the School did a great job creating modifications that cater to the student experience. So make sure to keep an eye out for any more updates about the schedule!