BSM starts school year with new bell schedule


Flynn Skahan

The student body is divided on whether or not they are in favor of the new bell schedule.

As students returned to Benilde-St. Margaret’s for another school year, they discovered new changes to the class schedule. This year, students meet for a 25-minute long homeroom––an amount of time more common for an advisory model––on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and all lunches are now 25-minutes long.

Members of the administration decided upon these changes with input from teachers and the student council. There are multiple reasons as to why the developments were made. For example, there is now more consistency between the junior high and senior high schedules. “This makes it easier to share teachers and rooms between JH and SH, and it makes it easier for JH students to be scheduled into SH classes,” BSM Principal Dr. Susan Skinner said.

The administration would like to see if this new schedule would be appropriate for an advisory model in the future, which would give more value to the 25-minute homerooms on Wednesdays and Thursdays. A homeroom period using an Advisory model could potentially be used for students to practice test-taking, prepare for the ACT, or think about college and career choices. “We had looked at a couple different things . . . within our strategic plan of moving towards an advisory model to see if this schedule would actually work for a future model that we’re trying to implement further on,” Assistant Principal Mr. Matt Weingartz said.

These revisions have sparked a bit of controversy among the BSM community. Over 130 students answered an online survey about the changes, with 37% of students being in favor of the modifications, while 32% of students are against the new schedule, and 31% of students still haven’t decided on what they think. Additionally, three out of four students like the longer lunches and nearly that many dislike the removal of homeroom. A large number of students take advantage of homeroom to finish schoolwork or study. “I need homeroom time to cram,” junior Grace Lira said.

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The new schedule also adds five minutes to A and B lunch, which satisfies many students’ requests for a longer lunch period. Now that these lunches are 25 minutes long, sixth period is 10 minutes longer than all the other classes. “I like the longer lunches because it means I have a longer engineering period,” sophomore Graham Imholte said.

A longer sixth period can create some challenges with teachers’ schedules, as this inconsistency may lead to some students having more or less work time than others. “I’ve noticed how the times aren’t always consistent for all the classes,” BSM math teacher Mr. Sam Fulco said.

The Academic Administration is still assessing the new schedule to see if the adjustments will be permanent. “We will be evaluating the changes this year,” Skinner said.