Possible schedule changes for 2010-2011 school year

Bernado Vigil

A handful of faculty have spent the first part of the year working on what could be a complete overhaul of Benilde-Saint Margaret’s familiar seven-period schedule system.

While many plans have been proposed, the two that the administration have considered most closely are a straight eight-period day, and one that Dr. Sue Skinner dubbed “fat, fat, skinny”; both could lead to a potential half-hour lengthening of the school day. While the straight eight-period day seems rather self-explanatory, the other plan has a little more flesh to it. The “fat, fat, skinny” plan would entail a week with various schedules, depending on the day. A portion of the week would be a block schedule in which one day includes only the first four periods of the day, and another day which includes the other four. The remainder of the week would be a somewhat normal eight period day.

This plan’s supposed benefits include longer class time which would allot more time for group projects, labs and hands-on learning in the class room. Unfortunately for the students, this plan would require an extension of the school day so that the periods do not become too short on the eight period days, explained Dr. Skinner.

Aside from qualms of students who wouldn’t want to stay at school longer, concerns have been raised by faculty as well. Math teacher and department head, Mr. Dan Bowler is not convinced. “[I am] not sold on the fat, fat skinny,” said Mr. Bowler. He stated that he could see the benefits of extending period lengths for classes that do labs but he didn’t see any benefit to his department. “What am I supposed to do? Teach two lessons in one day?” said Mr. Bowler.

While the planning of these new schedules has been partially headed up by French teacher Dr. Sue Cipolle, other teachers have expressed concern that the new schedule would be asking them to work longer hours for the same salary. Dr. Skinner however, has stated that she is confident that the teaching staff and the administration could come to some sort of agreement, possibly by giving the teachers another planning period.

Although still in its early stages of development, Dr. Skinner has stated that this would, at the very earliest, affect the school year of 2010-2011, meaning anybody not graduating this year would see these changes. However, with the school’s recent history of experimentation in regards to the schedule, namely the recent additions of “iDays” and “wellness days” to student’s weekly routines, it will be interesting to see what other changes await next years students.