Students explain the pros and cons of the second trimester schedule change

Students+in+Bradley+Schmidt%27s+first+hour+Statistics+and+Probability+class+are+getting+ready+to+practice+sampling+procedures.+This+course+has+been+new+to+many+this+trimester.+

Credit: Milo Turner

Students in Bradley Schmidt’s first hour Statistics and Probability class are getting ready to practice sampling procedures. This course has been new to many this trimester.

Milo Turner, Social Media Team

On Monday, Nov. 30, all Kalamazoo Public Schools schedules were updated in order to attempt to adjust to the new medium of online learning, the goals of the update being, “continuous improvement for teaching and learning, student engagement time, improved communication, and social-emotional learning,” according to the KPS website. 

For Loy Norrix this means the elimination of mandatory small-group attendance and made the addition of a chronological class schedule, as well as schedule accommodation for KAMSC and EFE/EFA’s. 

By some students’ standards, however, the previous schedule from trimester one was preferable. 

The trimester one schedule featured blocks of small group time, when classes would decrease in size and students could receive extra support from teachers, and full hour-long classes would alternate days of the week. 

A commonality between the two schedules is the lack of class time scheduled on Wednesdays, leaving the day free for Social Emotional Learning groups in the morning and homework in the afternoon. 

A student that prefers the first schedule over the second is senior Mayte Lopez Chaves. 

Lopez Chaves explained, “I believe that it [the trimester one schedule] gave me more time to finish school work because now that we have school 4 days a week, in my case, I have received so much more work from the teachers and it’s been really stressful.” 

Other students agree with the sentiment that the schedule for trimester one offered more unscheduled time between and after classes. 

Junior Oscar Lightfoot said, “Schedule one was better in the sense that you had more free time and ways to set up your schedule to fit how you wanted it.” 

However, those who believe that the trimester one schedule is the more favorable option also believe the plan still has room for improvement. 

On how he would change the first schedule, Lightfoot said, “More time for lunch. Yes, it’s more time than in normal school, but people don’t need to walk to different classes and it’s all on a computer so we need time to refresh ourselves from sitting at a computer for three hours straight.”

Lopez Chavez thinks that the first schedule did need some improvements with the way students were learning, but it was not as bad as this trimester. 

“Last trimester we needed more attention from the teachers instead of them just giving us the answers to the work.” Chavez elaborated, “As students we think we just need to get the answers right and move on. We need to actually learn the subjects because when college comes around, the professors won’t be on top of our work nor on top of us turning things in. They will already expect us to know more, and we won’t accomplish that if the teachers just give us the easy way.” 

However, some students have a strong preference towards the current schedule. 

Junior Gina Bello described the complications that she experienced when the original schedule was in use. 

“I prefer this schedule because it is easier to remember than trimester one and it has made my schedule easier, especially for me because I have an EFE from 7:45-9:15,” said Bello.  “They would be on the same days as my 4th hour, so I would always get to my 4th hour late and I wouldn’t be able to take notes and stuff because I don’t get home until like 9:45 and class is almost done by then.”

The first trimester schedule did not include classes in chronological order, so some weekdays students would have their fourth hour classes in lieu of their first. 

Similarly, junior Sagan Barber appreciates the straightforward nature of the second trimester schedule. 

“I prefer this one primarily because of the uniformity. We have the same schedule every day, with each class being the same length, aside from Wednesdays. I also prefer a more structured schedule, and this allows for that more than the last trimester did,” said Barber. 

Junior Thomas Frink agreed as well. “It [the second trimester schedule] helps me learn better and is much more organized. I have less lunch time and more school time, but I think it’s worth it for better education.”

Students still had revisions to propose when it came to the newer of the two schedules. 

Barber said, “the only changes I might propose would be to put the breaks back at 15 minutes, and make each class an hour instead of 55 mins.”

Frink suggested that the schedule should, “make small groups a little less confusing because I don’t know how I would go about going to a small group.” 

The future of online classes in Michigan is undecided and completely reliant on the control of the COVID-19 virus across the state. 

Not all hope is lost for safe in-person schooling, though. According to the Minnesota Star Tribune, “states including Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Nebraska have seen decreases in the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 over the past couple of weeks.” 

However, in the event that Loy Norrix students find themselves attending another trimester of distance learning, hopefully student voices will be heard and accounted for in the process of scheduling.