Schedule changes are leaving some students satisfied with more advising time but others confused about how and why these changes came about.
High school guidance counselor Susan Leadholm says the changes were necessary.
“There are two reasons why the schedule change occurred. One is because each fall every high school has to submit to the Department of Public Instruction the number of minutes students are in academic courses or learning opportunities. Because of the lunch and learn schedule, we were short nine minutes,” said Leadholm.
Leadholm says there were less preferable options to changing the schedule.
“We had two options. We could add minutes to each block, but the staff felt that both students and staff missed last year’s lengthier advising because it gave more personalized connections than this year. It was an easy choice to add the minutes to advising,” said Leadholm.
Leadholm explains the submission process can show some errors in scheduling; when filling out the report, the school came up short in the amount of instruction time. Changes were made before it was too late.
“If we wouldn’t have discovered this until the end of the year, we would’ve had to lengthen the day, we would’ve had to add a day to the calendar, or we would’ve had to remove a vacation or snow day. Fortunately, it was discovered sooner rather than later so that we could just make the change in the schedule and not have to make those drastic decisions,” said Leadholm.
Senior Mackenzie Raifsnider is dismayed that class times are changing.
“I just memorized the times we get out of class because I wanna get out of class. Now it’s all changed,” said Raifsnider.
Leadholm is thoroughly satisfied with the changes being presented to the bell schedule.
“I am pleased and grateful that the minutes were added to advising, although the teachers would like the students to be in their classrooms longer. As the counselor, I believe the connections made in advising are just as valuable. I believe, I really, in my heart, believe, students need people to listen and care about them outside the classroom environment,” said Leadholm.
According the DPI’s website, grades 7 through 12 are required to have at least 1,137 hours of face-to-face instruction. High school principal Tom Chambers says there were options he did not want to explore when reviewing the schedule.
“We figure, this is Wisconsin, there’s probably going to be snow days, probably going to be late starts. We figured if we had a couple of extra snow days, couple of extra late starts, in order to prevent having to add time to later in the year, which people wouldn’t be too crazy about–including me–we’d change the bell schedule and put it into place now,” said Chambers.
It’s not just Leadholm who has high hopes for the extra advising time.
“Hopefully it’s going to give [the advisors] a little more time during advising with the kids about what their expectations are, how they can help the students so they can understand the importance of how they do in school, making sure they get all their work done they needed to get completed, answer questions about future courses in their high school career and plans after their high school career, just more time for teachers to talk with their kids and hopefully give kids time to plan for the day and opportunity to check their emails, their grades, and their assignments. So I think giving that time to get kids ready, get their brains working, get some breakfast in them, I think that’s going to help,” said Chambers.
To learn more about how school scheduling is regulated, you can visit https://dpi.wi.gov/cal/days-hours.