It seems like I always have that one class that I just cannot focus in. For me that is typically seventh period, when I’m tired from the rest of my classes, and my mind just cannot function. But for others, it can be any given period. Whether that is the first class of the day, when you are half asleep, or right after lunch, when that big meal you ate is making you sleepy. Sometimes we just cannot focus.
Whatever it is, there are times of the day where some people cannot focus. This is why Paly should incorporate a rotating bell schedule, a schedule that means students have classes at different times throughout the week.
A student may have trouble focusing during the first period at the beginning of the day. If this student has chemistry, for example — a difficult, conceptual class — they may struggle to pay attention during long lectures and may end up falling behind as a result.
Last year, I had chemistry seventh period, right after art, and this class was virtually impossible for me to focus in. To come out of my least strenuous class, where barely any attention was required, to all of a sudden have to switch my brain on for my hardest class was extremely difficult for me. I was never able to focus in Chemistry, and my schedule did not allow me to move the class to a different period. I am confident that should I have had it during a different period, my performance in the class would have been much higher.
In addition, students who participate in sports like baseball or soccer at Paly, whose game schedules often require them to miss the last period of the day, may end up falling far behind in one class, which creates a lot of stress for the student when trying to catch up.
Junior and varsity baseball player Hayden Jung-Goldberg said he missed a week of his seventh period English class at one point last year due to early games and practices.
Jung-Goldberg described his experience being very stressful, and that because of schedule he was forced to make up all the work on his own time since he didn’t have the opportunity in class.
For Jung-Goldberg fortunately, he was only a sophomore. For juniors and seniors who take more rigorous honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses, missing a week of school could be detrimental to their understanding of the class.
While living in Singapore, the middle school I attended operated on a six-day block schedule. Every student had three three block classes per day and two electives which were half the length of block classes. Every other day, the classes would move; for example, if you had math first period on Monday, on Wednesday you would then have math second period, and then on Friday you would have math last.
This schedule provided a much more effective way to learn, because each day presented a different schedule, thus ending what may otherwise be a gruelingly monotonous school day, and making students more attentive.
For example, this schedule could be set up similar to last years, when odd and even days rotated every day, however in this schedule, the classes would also be rotating. So, Monday would be periods 1, 3, 5, 7, Tuesday would be 2,4,6, Wednesday would be 3, 5, 7, 1, Thursday would be 4, 6, 2, and so forth. The idea being that every day, the schedule shifts a little bit.
Assistant Principal Jerry Berkson, said having a rotating schedule creates confusion for part-time teachers, who may teach one period at Paly and another at Gunn. Currently, Gunn and Paly do not have the same schedule, and having a schedule that consistently changes can create scheduling issues for those teachers, according to Berkson.
However, this scheduling issue is a small price to pay for the ultimate gain, as this schedule would only affect the 136 amount of part-time teachers in PAUSD, and would benefit the whole student population.
Paly should adopt a rotating bell schedule. Once everyone is given the chance to get used to the schedule, students will begin to perform higher and achieve more than they ever have, something that is not as possible with this current schedule.