Paly’s new bell schedule,featuring a Monday that alternates between even and odd periods every other week and a fixed schedule for Tuesday through Friday, has been met with controversy.
The back-to-back even days on Monday and Tuesday every other week has led to concern among students and teachers when it comes to the buildup of work and the fact that odd periods don’t meet for four calendar days on these weeks.
Possibly even more troubling, though, is the lack of student involvement in the schedule’s development. The Campanile thinks the Palo Alto Unified School District should have allocated funds to continue the Innovative Schedule Committee that was used to choose a schedule for last year.
This committee involved both students and administration. Additionally, more feedback should have been collected from the student body before enacting this change.
This feedback could have been collected through publicized meetings with administrators and more detailed surveys administered to the student body. Last year, both administration and Paly students were given a large voice in what the year’s schedule would look like, as the ISC had been introduced to make the decision.
According to Paly senior and former ISC member Nathan Strope, students were included in the decision-making process for the 2018-19 schedule, from sending out surveys to allowing student representatives to voice their opinions and concerns to administration in frequent meetings.
However, for this year’s schedule, administrators choose not to include input from the ISC in the development of the new schedule. According to Principal Adam Paulson, the schedule was changed this year based on survey responses from parents, students and staff who favored the rotating Monday schedule over other options. This survey was administered at the end of the 2018-19 school year. Additionally, Paulson said that the summer break window for changing the schedule and a lack of funding made reestablishing the ISC for nearly impossible. Although potentially inconvenient and expensive, the inclusion of the ISC in the decision to alter Paly’s standardized schedule is crucial to the positive involvement of the student body.
Students involved directly in ISC would be better able to understand the ins and outs, pros and cons and feasibility of the different schedule options. The new rotating Monday schedule was apparently, according to Strope, a favorable option in ISC meetings last year. Whether or not this schedule is more favorable to the student body, though, isn’t clear since students weren’t as involved in the schedule-changing process through an established committee this year.
The Campanile understands that a lack of funding and the short window of time allotted were limiting factors on student inclusion on the process, however, we think in the future the district administrators should prioritize direct student involvement when contemplating changes to the school schedule.