Students petition for new schedule

Students gathered signatures for a petition that is asking the administration to change the current school schedule back to the last school year’s schedule.

To garner support, students tried to spread word to their peers.

“My friend came up to me and explained what it was about. There are many of us who have been talking about it and signing it,” sophomore Lindy Chen said. “I think the petition is going great so far. One of my friends, who has the paper, filled the whole thing front and back by the end of one day, but I believe there’s more work to be done.”

Seniors handed other teachers the petition to advertise during class, and students from all four grade levels tried to gain help from parents.

“Personally, I think there needs to be more support from parents [to get the petition signed]. Students will have to tell their parents about it and have their parents support the petition,” senior Roman Kim said. “Having three tutorials a week gave me more time to catch up on my school work because I’m in sports and have a job. Whenever I didn’t get to finish my homework or needed more time to study, tutorial gave me that chance.”

The 2014 to 2015 school year schedule included three tutorials on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. In contrast, this year’s schedule only includes two, which are on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Having more tutorial allows students to study for tests and catch up on homework they were not able to complete the night before. Additionally, students can ask for more help and gain extra practice on concepts they could not understand. With less tutorial this year, there is more class time.

“Now, life just got harder. I’ve missed a few homework assignments because I’ve been really busy with no time to do them,” sophomore John Walling said. “Teachers go one-on-one [with students] to make sure they understand the material. If we are asking for help and getting work done, [an extra] tutorial will help a lot. I use the time to get help I couldn’t get during class.”

There have already been three different schedules over the span of four years, and students had to constantly adapt to the new changes.

“I believe that this petition is a step in the right direction toward making the schedule something more accessible and efficient for the students. I think that revising the schedule every few years will only serve to confuse the students even more than our complicated schedule already does,” senior Calvin Hua said. “I’m just hoping for the petition to gain enough publicity to attract the attention of the school or even the district. Through this petition, hopefully my classmates and I are able to send a message that the constant changing of the schedule has to stop, for the sanity of the students and even the teachers in some cases.”

However, the new schedule was implemented because student-athletes would miss up to 45 minutes of instructional time to leave for games on multiple occasions. With the early-out day moved to Wednesday, the problem is minimized. On the other hand, some do not have games on Wednesday. The schedule change would not affect these athletes and practices would simply be shifted.

“There are so many student athletes in Walnut, [and] losing class time is devastating for us. In the more advanced classes, missing one lesson is like a domino effect that is really hard to recover from,” varsity girls basketball and track member junior Chloe Hsu said. “The new schedule’s pros outweigh its cons for me. For other students not involved in sports, they are more likely to go for the old schedule because they don’t see a student athlete’s perspective and how it affects us. [I] can’t blame them for looking for their best interests, but I think the new schedule really benefits student athletes.”

On Nov. 5th, the petition was presented to Principal Brandon Dade by two student representatives. However, the schedule would probably not be implemented for at least another two years because of school policy. For new bell schedules, teachers vote based on how well the schedule worked. If they approved the changes, the administration would have to have a draft submitted to the district office. It would have to get the old schedule approved by nutrition, transportation, board members and the superintendent.

“We are [definitely] going to reconvene this year to get feedback from the teachers who voted on this,” Dade said. “[We’re] never going to have a school where everybody likes the bell schedule. Not everybody [can be] 100 percent happy. You just try to find a happy medium that fits everyone’s needs.”

While the petition was not passed, students learned about how their voices can possibly make a change in the community.

“It’s written in the First Amendment that we, as American citizens, are given the right to petition the government. Although school has a vastly different environment than the government, this is a good opportunity to experience the First Amendment firsthand,” Hua said.

By Kevin Arifin, Staff writer