Joshua Levine, Copy Editor
October 20, 2023
I think many of us had our doubts about the new schedule this year. I certainly did. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised in these first weeks of school by its success.
First, the longer classes have been productive. Many classes in the past few years felt rushed and jammed; classes now feel more relaxed and meaningful. One class that stood out as benefitting from the schedule changes was one from Mr. Jankey’s Honors Research Seminar course. Mr. Jankey had us analyze primary sources, write short reflections about them (with sound paragraph structure, of course), and discuss them as a group.
This activity took up the entire 70-minute block, and Mr. Jankey observantly commented at the end of the class that we could not have had a class like that in previous years. His point has stuck with me, showing how great the new schedule really is! Classes in longer blocks are usually better. We can cover more material while engaging in more extended activities. Last spring, I thought I could never sit through a lab block-length class for a history or English class, but I have quickly been proven wrong. The extra 20 minutes can make the difference between understanding a complex math problem and not having any direction.
(Graphic Credit: Joshua Levine)
Having less homework per night is another great outcome of the schedule. Last year, I had a day with all six classes. This included two lab blocks and a short break for lunch. Preparing for this day was a daunting task. Now, we only have to prepare for a maximum of four academic classes daily. On other days, that number is only three. This is a severe downward departure in night-over-night work for students – lowering the workload by as much as 50% at times.
The new “Community Time” blocks have been a great addition to the schedule. Though I am not a member of a cappella or singing groups on campus, I understand that many other students have historically spent significant time on campus in the evenings to participate in these extracurricular activities. We have so much work and so little time; an extra free night each week will certainly help students balance their workload with their extracurricular activities.
Affinity groups and clubs are also better supported by the new schedule in the Community Time block. This year, affinity groups may have up to three times as many meetings as in previous years. Clubs will also have more consistent meeting times throughout the day. Gone is the Friday X-Block when everyone was too tired to attend clubs. I am excited by affinity groups and clubs’ capabilities to grow as critical facets of the Nobles community this year.
Community Time can also provide better options for students to meet with teachers and advisors. As a designated free block for students and faculty alike, setting up meetings for extra help or check-ins can easily be placed in these blocks!
The new schedule does have some flaws despite my positive perspective on it thus far. Specifically, I am still struggling with the seven-day rotation and the later end times. I liked the rhythm of a Monday-to-Friday schedule. It’s nice to know what’s happening on which day, and now, it’s practically impossible to tell a Monday from a Friday. The later end of the school day is also tough, with less time between last period and afternoon program. Feeling rushed to get down to the MAC isn’t a ton of fun.
All in all, the new schedule is an improvement. I enjoy the longer classes, and I think it generally makes sense. It will undoubtedly take some getting used to, but I think making the total adjustment shouldn’t be too hard, given some more time.