Administrators in the San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District were forced to reject the proposed schedule for the 2016-2017 school year.
This year, the high school was required to extend the school day to 2:46 p.m. in order to compensate for the lack of required minutes from the state of California.
Teachers’ classes have been affected in different ways as a result of the 120 minute long class periods.
SLVHS English teacher, Tiffany Darrough said, “I actually believe I am one of the only teachers who prefers the periods longer. It is better for me to teach writing; however, I do respect the argument that periods are too long, especially for freshmen and sophomore teachers.”
However, Spanish teacher Rebecca McCabe presented a different view. She said, “As a Spanish teacher, I know there is a point where students cannot absorb anymore new material at once, and two hours is close to that point. I usually am able to give students more time to work on projects, but I usually do not teach more material.”
A variety of alternatives have been proposed to provide a more appropriate schedule for the context of the classes at San Lorenzo Valley High School.
SLVHS biology teacher Ned Hearn proposed a schedule which would extend the start of the school day, and therefore extend the start of zero periods. The school day would still have ended at 2:46 p.m., but would allow zero periods to start at 7:45 a.m.
“I basically looked at the schedules at a lot of different schools, and made on based off of what I found online. I thought this would give students the opportunity to take a seventh class, without having to go to school too early, while also not lengthening the day to the point where block periods are too long,” said Hearn.
The schedule was drafted in hopes to make zero periods a more attractive option for students, and increase enrollment to zero period minutes being eligible to count for required minutes.
A survey released by SLVHS counselors stated that 80% of students would “probably take” a zero period if it began at 7:45 a.m.
However, when course requests had arrived. Only 350 students enrolled in the thirty available periods. The district required 500 students to enroll for the minutes to be eligible. The schedule also would have affected teachers who split their time between middle and high school classes, and the district’s transportation schedule. All of these factors combined resulted in the schedule being tossed out.
“Of course I was disappointed that the schedule fell through. I think this really points to the benefits and the curses of having a tri-campus. We have to stagger start times and end times, and make schedules work so they work for shared staff. It can be really restrictive,” said Hearn.
School administrators have been mulling over options for next year’s schedule, finding different places to add time.
Current proposals include remaining with the schedule this school year, adding a seventh period that goes until 3:30 p.m., and perhaps the most favored option: adding a study period after the morning period on O and E days.
This schedule would provide a thirty minute “tutorial” period. School would be out at 2:35 p.m. on O and E days, 2:31 p.m. on collaboration A days, and 2:10 p.m. on regular A days.
SLVHS students had mixed reactions to this schedule idea.
“I don’t like that idea too much, because I know it would make the school day feel a lot longer for me. Also, I think a lot of students would not use the period for actual studying. They would treat it more like an extra brunch,” said SLVHS junior Hana Bruce-Silva.
“I think the study hall could be really helpful for some students, especially ones who are really busy. I think this schedule or the one we currently have is the best option,” said freshman Celeste Robinson.
At this time, no schedules are confirmed for implementation for the 2016-2017 school year.
“I have my fingers crossed something works out,” said Hearn.
By Robert Jeffrey