Two years ago the MHS school board voted to change from the block schedule of four hour-and-a-half periods to eight 50-minute periods.
The reason presented was that the change would ensure higher academic success for students.
But the news sparked outrage among many of the current students. These concerned students worried about how the new schedule would affect their day-to-day lives at school and outside of school– many specifically worried about an increased homework load.
Now that students are in their second year of the new schedule, though, students have become accustomed to the schedule change.
“It was weird the first time we did it, especially because junior year is your hardest year, so having the hardest classes on top of that homework load was an adjustment I wasn’t very happy or willing to make,” Senior Izzy Jurasz said. “Eventually, I got used to it… so having those 50-minute classes was nice.”
Other key reasons behind the schedule change were to improve standardized test scores and student retention of the knowledge they’d learned in their classes from the previous year.
“We wanted to reduce the gap time [in block scheduling where] you’d have anywhere from a term to a full year between one level of math to the next level of math, and we wanted to reduce that gap time,” Principal Dr. Anthony Kroll said. “The second one was to offer more educational opportunities for students, so those are the two major driving forces that from the very beginning have been stated over and over again. That’s why we went with the bell change.”
The school’s desired effect of the bell change has already worked for some students.
“Being able to have the same classes year round, it helps with the AP tests…. Having AP Language all year helped me get a 4 [out of 5 on the test],” Jurasz said. “And for AP Psychology, it helped me get a 5, which I never would’ve gotten if we had the block.”
Despite some of the positive changes students have noticed after a year and a quarter, it still comes with its share of negatives that have kept some at school disgruntled with the change.
“I feel like the block schedule is better. There’s less classes all at once,” Saige Louria, senior, said. “It gets stressful with all the classes, and then you have to think about college [applications senior year].”
While Louria wasn’t happy with the change, she said she realized she needed to adapt to it.
“I was like ‘I hate this’ for a while, but it’s not going to change,” she said, “So I just have to deal with it and hope for the best.”
While the school did not adjust the eight-period schedule this year, it did adjust to feedback about the late start days.
Last year, late start was moved from Thursdays to Wednesdays. This year, the late starts were moved back to Thursdays after many in the school community said they preferred the late starts on Thursday.
“[The switch was made] because so many people were just used to Thursdays,” Dr. Kroll said.
Other events, such as Wednesday night band practices, also affected the change back to Thursday, giving band members more chance to rest after practicing their marching routine on the football field the previous night.
But not everyone was as passionate about the late start changes as they had been about the schedule overhaul.
“I’m impartial to [when late start is]; I’m just happy we have a late start,” Jurasz said. “Now that we have it on Thursdays just being able to sleep in and then the next day have it being Friday is really nice.”
Overall, then, students have shown an acceptance of the new schedule because, as Louria said, “People know what to expect out of the schedule now.”