Since the beginning of last year there have been obvious changes in how schools have scheduled their classes for students because of COVID-19. Some schools have only been giving four classes per term, while others kept their regular schedules which are six periods and their zero and seventh periods. Schools have been trying to find a way for students to have enough time so that they don’t feel rushed and understand the curriculum. Some schools have given students a longer lunch period so that students can have time to relax, eat, and socialize.
After talking to Fernanda, an 8th grader from Santa Barbara Junior High, she was able to tell me that students are complaining about this year’s new schedule. Every Monday they attend all of their classes which are 55 minutes long. When asked how she felt about the new schedule having the odd numbered classes on Wednesdays and Fridays, and having even numbers on Tuesdays and Thursdays,she commented, “it’s confusing because you gotta remember what you learned on one day then remember it for another day when (you don’t) even have the same classes the next day.”Another comment was that she “likes it” because you get to socialize with different people every other day.
I also wanted to interview a high school student at Santa Barbara High School who was there during the old schedule, when they had six periods instead of four a day. I had the chance to interview Valeria Polanco, a junior at Santa Barbara High. I started off asking Polanco about how she feels about only having four periods a day. She answered with, “It’s definitely weird, the classes feel really wrong, but I like that we have less classes at one time; it gives me time to concentrate on every class.” Another question I asked her was, “do you like that we have less classes but they’re longer? She replied with, “I wish they were a little shorter.” I also asked, “how do you feel about the 30 minute lunch?” She said, “I think it’s unfair; we deserve more lunch time especially after 90 minute classes. We need more time to eat, use the bathroom, and should be able to socialize, and 30 minutes just isn’t enough.”
I had the opportunity to interview the Principal of Santa Barbara Junior High, Arielle Curry, who gave me some insight on the junior high schedule. This is Ms. Curry’s first year being a Principal at Santa Barbara Junior High and dealing with this type of schedule. I asked Ms.Curry, “why is it that junior high has six to eight periods and not fourlike the high school? She replied with,“high school students are working on their A through G requirements so their schedule is designed and geared towards that. After Junior High level there are also required classes that junior high (students) need to take, but we also have some students that need additional support like a Math support class, English support class, something like that. Like any new thing it’s difficult to adjust to something that you’re not used to, it takes time to get used to it… between distant learning for most of last year and now the schedule is different.” It is a longer time for students to be in class and it’s taking some time for students to get adjusted to. I also was curious to know if this year’s schedule is going to continue next year, to which Ms.Curry answered “we are in the process of making a timeline on the bell schedule for the staff, periods, teachers, students from their perspective related to our current bell schedule to help us with making some adjustments to what it currently looks like.”
With our schedules constantly changing, it has been hard on all of us. Principals, teachers, staff, and students have been stressed because of these new schedules. We are all looking forward to having a stable schedule soon if possible.
[Image Credit: SB Unified]