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High School Adjusts to a New Schedule

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High School students received their timetables this year and discovered a drastically different schedule from last year. The major changes are the addition of SEAL blocks, the switch to a 10-day cycle, and the shortening of classes by 15 minutes.

This new schedule gives students more free time, but it also means that teachers have to adjust their lessons to fit in the 65-minute blocks.

These changes have been in the works for about two years, according to DP Coordinator Clark Stroupe. One of the main goals of the new schedule was to allow students more flexibility during their day.

“The main driver from my perspective (at least for DP) is that students just didn’t have enough time, and I really want students to be able to have free time: to have fun, to work together, to see teachers, to read.” said Stroupe.

Another goal of the schedule change was to better accommodate the needs of the Diploma Program. With the previous schedule, Standard Level classes were meeting over 200 hours, which is 50 hours more than what the IB recommends.

The middle school students, high school MYP students, and high school DP students all have different needs for their schedules. It has been a challenging process to find a schedule that accommodates all three schools.

Tenth Grader Pooja Banglorewala said that although the schedule is “a big change from last year’s to this year’s” and is “hard to memorize,” she likes having the extra time during SEAL blocks.

Many students agree with Banglorewala. Tenth grader Kevin Rayan likes having time to spend with friends or to work on the Personal Project. Eleventh grader Judy Baek also takes advantage of the free time.

“I’ve found that [free blocks are] really helpful because I get really tired when I go home so I tend to finish my work at school.” said Baek.

In order to provide students with more free time, classes were shortened from 80 minutes to 65 minutes. For teachers, this means that they have to fit the same amount of material into shorter classes. MYP Humanities and DP Psychology teacher Jane Gibbons is trying to find the best way to make this shift.

“From a teacher’s point of view, I’m still trying to adjust my lessons to get the timing right.” said Gibbons. “The lessons just feel really really short.”

Although making this adjustment is challenging, Gibbons acknowledges the benefits of shorter classes.

“Students are more focused because the pace is faster.” said Gibbons.

Stroupe hopes that these changes will help students, especially those completing the DP.

“I don’t think that the [Diploma Program] necessarily needs to be as high-stakes and stressful as everybody thinks it is.” said Stroupe.

 

Reporting contributed by Sian Rusinow and Lan Anh Foster

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