Seven-Period Bell Schedule Proposal Does Not Make the Grade

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The million dollar question in education has always been, “What is the best way to teach?” This year, an idea that floated around La Quinta High School was modifying the bell schedule to include seven periods rather than six.

On January 26, an initial procedural vote by certificated staff was made and at least 20 percent of the staff voted to move forward to discuss the seven-period schedule. However, on March 16, changes were presented to the proposed schedule for next school year to meet the minimum required instructional minutes set forth by the state and the school district. As a result, this meant that another procedural vote by the staff needed to be facilitated. The official announcement was made on April 1 that the majority of the staff voted not to move forward with the consideration of an extra period this year.

Even with this decision, Principal Wilson will discuss a plan B within the next few SAST meetings. This plan will address the concerns pertaining to students with Ds and Fs, protecting programs such as ROTC, IB, PSA, MHA and culinary as well ensuring that needs of special education students and English language learners are being met.  

Evidently, the addition of another period would have caused several benefits and detriments. An extra period in the school day would have provided growth to programs and provided better opportunities for students who were seeking out an extra class. This extra opportunity could have resulted in students taking IB classes or any of the academies offered.

Ms. Alice Pedersen stated that it could have helped those students whose schedules were too tight to do some of the things they need, referencing specifically to students who need to take remedial classes and must be sent to another school in order to get all their credits completed, as well as high-achieving students who could benefit from having some electives in order to explore more classes.

With benefits, however, there are always disadvantages. The main concern was that an extra period in the day would shorten the length of classes, resulting in a severe reduction in instruction time. Another disadvantage of a seven-period day was the significant increase in the amount of homework that would be given. Students would possibly be given more than they could chew with the inclusion of an extra period. Cramming in an extra hour or two of homework would be the main concern for students, especially those who don’t have much time in their day, such as student-athletes. Students would have to manage their time in much more meticulous ways.

Overall, the addition of a seventh-period schedule is a highly debated topic that has both its pros and cons. While the scheduling conversation has been tabled this school year, if the proposed schedule had been approved, staff would have had to vote again next spring to implement the seventh-period permanently.