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Scarsdale High School Experiments With Two Class Schedules

clockNever underestimate the difference a few minutes can make. In September 2017 the Scarsdale High School administration implemented a controversial class schedule that lengthened the school day and limited homeroom to two days a week. Students were disappointed not only because they lost their daily mid-morning break, but also because they were disoriented by the varying class schedule each day. Parents and students alike, including the Compact Committee , also feared the impact of the lengthened school day on the school’s wellness initiative.

When the school year began, school days ended at 2:55 on Mondays and Wednesdays, 3:05 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 1:59 on Fridays. Class periods extended from 49 to 51 minutes long, which added 75 minutes of class time to each week.

After backlash about the timing, there was much reflection on how to make the schedule more appealing to the students while also maximizing class time. After gathering students’ opinions in a survey in November 2018, the administration decided to pilot two different class schedules over the course of the next two months. “The SHS Schedule Committee has been working to devise a schedule for September 2019 that will provide consistent start and end times to the school day and to the periods in the schedule, as that was the strongest indication from feedback we solicited from students, parents, and teachers last year and that we confirmed in surveys this year,” said Principal Ken Bonamo in a letter. One pilot is in effect from January 28th until February 15th, and the other will be tested after February break, from March 11th until the 28th. Below are the schedule pilots:

Schedules

One primary difference between these two schedules and the previous schedule is the end time of each day; these schedules end the school day at 3:00 on Monday through Thursday and at 2:05 on Fridays, which is more consistent than the previous schedule. In addition, periods are 50 minutes long in each pilot, as opposed to the former 51 minutes.

Another key difference is that these pilots delegate time to a brief mid-morning break in classes each day, whether that is homeroom or common tutorial. “The common tutorial period is designed to provide a time when all students and teachers are unassigned and thus available to work on classwork or extracurricular activities,” wrote Bonamo.

Once this experimentation with the pilots is complete, there will be follow-up surveys, and the administration will regroup and devise a schedule for the 2019-20 school year.

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