Walnut introduces new bell schedule

Walnut has implemented a new bell schedule for the 2015 to 2016 school year. The adjustments aim to provide more instructional time and accommodate the educational needs of students.

The faculty members began to work on the new schedule in August 2014, when they were invited to two work days to plan possible changes. They were divided into groups, each representing a variety of departments to address differences in needs. The teachers listed the pros and cons of the previous schedule, and an assembled committee that met throughout the school year considered possible revisions.

One of the major changes to this year’s schedule is cutting the number of tutorials from three to two while extending the duration of each tutorial from 45 to 50 minutes.

“Kids would be able to accomplish more, get more support done and complete tests,” Instructional Dean of Language and Media Arts Andreas Deligio said. “Given the length of tests, [a student] might not be able to complete one in 40 minutes and need 50 minutes.”

The extra minutes of class on block days provide more time not only for tests but also other lengthy classroom activities.

“Having longer blocks has allowed science classes to start lab and completely finish it and do post-lab work afterwards,” Instructional Dean of Science Barbie Cole said. “It also provides more instructional time for laboratories, which makes this arrangement good for both teachers and kids.”

The usual Monday early-out day was also shifted to Wednesday in consideration of student athletes who often miss the last segments of class when they travel off-campus to compete.

“With the new schedule, the girls will not miss their sixth period classes when we have to travel. When they feel like they’re doing less than their best in class, they’re always anxious. So anytime when that [stress] is alleviated, that’ll help what they feel on the court and affect their performance,” girls varsity volleyball coach Darren Hoff said.

Instead of a length of 45 minutes, periods on Monday are now stretched to 55 minutes. The 75-minute blocks have received positive feedback and remain unchanged.

“One of the concerns that the faculty had was that 45 minutes [for Monday periods] were too short, and they would have liked if they were to be a bit longer. There was not enough time to cover material and for kids to learn, and [the arrangement] not good for the instructional process. Having 75 minutes seem to be right amount of time,” Deligio said.

The faculty hopes that with the modifications, the school year will be an improved experience for both students and teachers.

“We discussed areas of concern, about how we can make it better, how we make it work for kids so they get the most out of the instructional time, how we make it work for teachers so they are not losing time,” Deligio said. “We worked on the feedback we got from the rest of staff about what was working and needed adjustment. There is a lot more [the school] could do with the new schedule.”

By Caroline Huang and Eric Peng, News editors

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