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Students Share Opinions on New Bell Schedule

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La Costa Canyon High School has implemented a new bell schedule for the 2016-2017 school year. This new schedule includes a rotating block day schedule, an optional seventh period class, an Extended Study Period (ESP), and early outs every other Monday. Before the change was made however, LCC had the same schedule for roughly 20 years.

“The old bell schedule was pretty straight forward; we would meet every other day for a 2 hour period, averaging 5 hours per class per week,” AP Literature teacher Speed Farris said.

The new schedule has alternating weeks. This means that one week a student would spend almost 5.5 hours in each 1-3-5 class, with the two ESP times included, but only 4 hours in each 2-4-6 class, with ESP included. It would then flip the next week. ESP takes place 2-3 times a week, averaging about an hour to an hour and a half of extra time in that class each week.

“I like the alternating weeks because you get more time in a class that you like, so that’s nice,” freshman Emma Winship said. “You can get more done and you can get an ESP break from certain classes every other week.”

ESP allows additional time for students to ask questions, do homework, collaborate with teachers, perform make up tests or quizzes and receive academic assistance.

“I think ESP is a great time for teachers to help students prepare for tests and allow students to ask questions about their subject,” freshman Davis Armbrust said. “I’m able to get homework out of the way during school so I really like ESP.”

The idea of this extension of class is not only reserved to these qualities though. Teachers are still granted the opportunity to continue classroom instruction, as they aren’t technically required to follow these guidelines. Principal Bryan Marcus shared that because the teachers had been so accommodated to the old bell schedule, the new one has created some difficulty in class planning.

“The teachers have created norms within their departments and it’s difficult to shift from 120 minute classes to 90 minute ones and still get everything done,” Marcus said. “ESP is still the teacher’s instructional minutes. Later on though, when homework starts piling up, I think that teachers are going to see the need to use ESP as more of a homework time.”

Some students suggest that most of their teachers do not use ESP for what they believe it should be used for. However, others suggest that it is helpful for students if the teacher continues their lecture into ESP because they can then clearly elaborate further on what the students need to know.

“I like when my teachers keep lecturing because then they can explain things that I don’t get and it’s just a longer class to get stuff done,” sophomore Hayden Wolfe said.

LCC now has the option to take up to seven classes. Most students have taken this opportunity and have a seventh period. Taking this extra elective offers students the ability to attain more credits towards graduation, but it also provides students with much more flexibility. They also have the option to only take five or six classes and leave school early or start school later than a student taking all seven classes. For instance, students may take five classes if they choose, and start each day around 9:00 am or 10:00 am.

“My whole vision for this year, the vision we have as a school, is to create a more well balanced student,” Principal Bryan Marcus said.

The new schedule is much more similar to a college setting in the way students can pick and choose what they want to do with just about every aspect of their high school education.

“This new schedule is helping me understand and prepare for my college life ahead of me. It’s nice to see that I am in control of my school life and I enjoy it more,” senior Callahan Rohner said.

LCC has been considering changing the bell schedule for over five years but never began the process until about a year and a half ago when a large group of teachers, students, staff, parents, and the district as a whole really started making things happen.

“It was a huge team effort,” Marcus said. “The whole entire staff from teachers to employees to the parent community but teacher Cindi Schildhouse in particular helped out instrumentally.”

Cindi Schildhouse is an Anatomy, Physiology, and A.P. Biology teacher here at LCC. She played a large role in the designing process and the following through of the new bell schedule by getting it approved by the district.

“Basically, in simple terms, I did all the math,” Schildhouse said. “By adding that extra seventh period, we had to shorten all the periods and so I divided up the day into the number of classes.”

Some students have found the new change and scheme of the bell schedule to be a complicated sequence.

“I think the bell schedule is efficient but kids like me can be super confused,” Winship said. “One day I didn’t even know we had seventh period and I was totally unprepared.”

Due to the fact that the recently demoted 20 year-old bell schedule has been replaced, there are sure to be concerns from the student body. However, the new bell schedule is intended to offer students with a plethora of academic benefits.

“I think change is hard. Change is difficult,” Marcus said. “It takes people a long time to wrap their heads around it, but I’m very happy with it and how quickly people are adjusting.”

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La Costa Canyon High School's News Source
Students Share Opinions on New Bell Schedule