Monday, November 7, 2011

Opinion: Why A Rotating Schedule Would Be Good for BHS (From A BHS Student)

This Post Came From Our BHS Student Blog - The Lounge

By BHS Senior Rick Landry

BHS’s schedule right now has the same periods in the same order everyday. The only variation we see in our daily schedule is the one long period everyday. I think mixing up the schedule would be not only welcomed by the majority of students and teachers, but also be beneficial to class participation and engagement.

Here are some benefits I can see resulting from a rotating schedule:

- Student Engagement: Everyone has their own individual times during the day that they feel more awake. If you’re like me, you’re still waking up during first period everyday. Unfortunately, I have English first and it is often a discussion-focused class. My sleep patterns are now potentially harming my grade in English. Then there are the other students who are wide awake at 7:30 but start dosing off after lunch. Even some teachers admit that they are a little less alert by the time seventh period rolls around. We should change up first period everyday to prevent students from entering one specific class at a disadvantage.

- Tardiness: We all have those mornings where we hit the alarm a few times. Or just shut it off completely. And there is always that unlucky day when the traffic director holds up your line of cars at 7:25. But by having the same first period everyday, it is hurting our first period only, where as missing a little bit of school every once in a while would be better spread out among our classes. I’m not saying the schedule should change so students can be tardy more often, but we all have to come in late occasionally.

- Spontaneous Changes in Schedule: Occasionally there are assemblies and two hour delays that mix up the day’s schedule. However, fifth period is never affected because it would complicate the lunch schedule. I remember that my sophomore year, this created problems for my 5th period biology teacher because my biology class got way farther ahead in the material than the other biology class he taught after a few consecutive days with assemblies.

As for the “cons” of a rotating schedule, the only main concern I have read about from schools that implemented this is that it can confuse the students. Some parents were worried because they believe that their child only performs well in a very structured and rigid routine. However, these concerns were mainly expressed at middle school schedules that completely jumbled the class periods everyday, not just changed the starting period. Also, Burlington’s middle school already has a jumbled and rotating schedule, and high school students are even more mature and ready to handle it.

So then I started thinking about what kind of rotating schedule would work the best for BHS. Although a completely jumbled schedule has its benefits, it would be more of a drastic change. I think we should keep the same basic format, but start each day with a different period. On Day 1, the periods would go 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. On day 2, the day would go 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 1. And on day 6, it would go 6, 7, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5… and so on. Therefore, students and teachers are still traveling to the same class from the same class everyday, with the exception of the first and last blocks. The only thing left to consider is where to put the long period. At first, I thought it would be easy to put the long period first, so on Day 3 you would start off with 3rd period and it would be the long period of the day. However, I don’t think many people would be enthusiastic about having a long period first. So let’s say we would make whatever class is 4th be the long period everyday. This is a simple solution to the problem.

A rotating schedule would allow students and teachers to more evenly apply themselves among each class. Feel free to comment with your own ideas on the BHS schedule.

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3 comments:

  1. I am the scheduler at a high school that has a rotating schedule and can verify all your points. Students and teachers at our school all like the fact that our blocks rotate - different classes first and last period means no class gets hit too many times by lateness, early dismissals, etc. Regarding the "confusion" factor - it's really a non-issue for high school students. You learn to have your schedule with you at all times so you know what's coming - one of our students actually created an iPhone/iPad app for our schedule to make it more accessible! We unfortunately can't do a simple rotation of 1,2,3, etc., so ours is a bit more jumbled, but it's still manageable. I hope you are able to further discussions about changing your schedule!

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  2. I have felt this way about the BHS schedule for a while for the same exact reasons. It is nice to see a student think so completely about improving student life at BHS!!! If you need parental backing, I know several parents who think this adjustment to the schedule would be beneficial on so many levels. I can help with that!

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  3. I teach at the middle school, but assist the BHS band 3 days a week. For those teachers that are at BHS less than full time, a rotating schedule would exclude us from aligning our schedule on any particular day. Since Rick Landry is in Band, I'm assuming he didn't think of this minor conflct. MSMS and BHS schedules have been 'synced' for the 9 years I've been doing this. Rotating would prohibit it. I spoke to Rick, he said to post this comment.
    Mr. B.

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