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Bell schedule committee to implement new schedule next school year

Following notice that Paly was short about 2,000 instructional minutes, the school’s bell schedule review committee has expedited its original plan to remodel the current bell schedule. Three possible schedules have been proposed and released for further deliberation among community and committee members alike.

The first proposal provides an option that has minimal structural change to the existing schedule. In this scenario, InFocus would be extended to 10 minutes, giving students more time in between morning blocks to listen to the daily bulletin. Furthermore, mandatory hour-long joint Advisory-Flex blocks would be held after sixth period on both Tuesdays and Thursdays to account for the current lack of instructional minutes.

However, C-days, a common complaint raised by several students, would remain intact. Many of the drawbacks, such as athletes consistently missing the same class for early afternoon games, would still be present.

The second option features alternating even and odd block days. This type of schedule would keep lunch and brunch times consistent throughout the year and it would also solve the issue of athletes missing the same class for early games.

A drawback to this setup is that because C-days would be eliminated, students and teachers may have fewer meetings in a week than what is currently scheduled. Furthermore, because any given day may be either odd or even, there would be no week-to-week consistency with when school ends each day, making it difficult to plan after school activities.

The third and final option would have alternating block days in place of C-days while the remaining 4 days of the schedule would remain the same as is currently set in place. While this would mitigate the problem of an inconsistent schedule, athletes would once again be forced to consistently miss the same class. Furthermore, there would be no buffer between back-to-back even or odd days, giving some students much less time to complete homework assignments or study for tests between classes.

In all scenarios, Flex and Advisory would be made mandatory and extended to one hour on both Tuesdays and Thursdays. Those who do not have advisory will remain at school during Flex time, after which attendance will be taken.

One important benefit that the second and third options share is that there would be more built in time after school for teachers to work on collaboration.

“In option one, staff lose collaboration time,” said principal Kim Diorio. “For me, I think it’s really important that your teachers have the opportunity to work together and collaborate and work on things like alignment and consistency and grading. If they don’t have the time built into the schedule I’m worried that some of the forward movement that we’ve been making the last few years would slow down.”

While the committee was originally formed with the intention of alleviating student stress by possibly removing C-days by the 2017-2018 school year, after the Gunn bell schedule committee informed them of their instructional minute deficiency in late January, they were forced to come to a decision much earlier to ensure proper implementation by next year.

The committee has since held public forums for both students and parents to gather more information from the general public. Surveys for students, parents and teachers have been distributed and the results will be evaluated this week.

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