Over the past year, the bell schedule has been a major source of controversy among/ Paly students — everyone seems to have an opinion, yet there are so many options that it is impossible to please everyone. One of the biggest changes this year was the prolonged time allotted for InFocus, changing it from five minutes to 10, and moving the designated time from the beginning of third or fourth period to the end.
While this change has allowed InFocus to broadcast a wider variety of content, the segments rarely take up the entirety of the 10-minute slot. As teachers cannot dismiss students until the bell rings, most students are left to dawdle during the few extra minutes of time at the end of class that could be used for more productive means.
The Campanile thinks the Innovative Schedule Committee (ISC) should designate the newly added five minutes of InFocus to Tuesday’s Flex period so that we would have an additional 25 minutes of Flex and just five minutes of InFocus every day. This amendment would allow students to be more productive with the extra Flex time and talk to their teachers.
Students would even be able to take tests during the 75-minute Flex period, decreasing the wait time in front of the Testing Center. This change would be especially beneficial for students who are just taking shorter exams and have the option of choosing whether they want to take their exams in the beginning or near the end of the period. This would reduce the amount of crowding in the Testing Center during Flex, a widespread concern among students.
By simply moving the time from InFocus to Flex, we would continue to fulfill the California requirement of 54,000 instructional minutes per school year.
As the ISC is currently mulling over potential bell schedule options, and has yet to reach a final decision, this change would not be disruptive to any of their plans for next year and beyond.
“We are totally open to lots of options now,” said ISC junior student representative David Foster. “So, in that respect, it is feasible that it could be a proposed schedule if it was found to be the best option. If there is going to be a schedule change, it will be for next school year or the year after, depending on the complexity of the change.”
InFocus adviser Paul Hoeprich said he recognizes the problem with filling the 10 minutes of allotted time, but says his team is planning more segments to ameliorate this issue soon.
“Five minutes is constrictive to these students. The time, that is our medium, that is what we use to do what we do, and when you constrict that, you’re constricting the learning that goes on with these students. I do understand that there’s a give and take; if we’re given the 10 minutes, we need to do something of quality with the 10 minutes, and I think that’s where the problem is right now.”
While InFocus is important for transmitting school news and events to students and has recently also come out with a lot more creative and funny segments, students are naturally inclined to not pay attention after a long 90 minutes of class. We applaud them for their inventive initiatives, but the tradeoffs of increasing the length of Flex are significantly greater.
The Campanile thinks InFocus’ ventures should not be wasted, and that although the time of their streamed segments will be cut short, they should still publicize their segments on their website and various social media outlets.
Alternatively, teachers and staff who work in the Media Arts Center (MAC) can broadcast various InFocus segments in their classrooms and in the MAC atrium during Flex if they are compelled to do so.
Through this simple revision, students will benefit immensely from extra work time, productivity and accessibility to their teachers.
We urge the ISC to take this into consideration in order to work towards a more productive future for Paly students.