“New year, new schedule” seems to be the mantra at Corvallis High. For years, the district and the high schools have wrestled with a schedule that suits the needs of students, staff, families, and the district, but so far, they’ve come up short. Of course, from the days of Friday all-days, mentoring, seven periods, and five minute transition breaks, there are always people who don’t like the current schedule. Yet this year’s new proposal has been met with overwhelming disapproval from CHS students and faculty alike.
One positive change is the addition of the eighth period, meaning that the block schedule goes 1-3-5-7 and 2-4-6-8, every day ending at 3:05. Now classes end at the same time every day, and it’s easier for students struggling to meet graduation requirements to make up their necessary classes. CHS principal Matt Boring likes the eighth period because it gives teachers a ninety minute prep period every day, and balances out the schedule.
At first, some students thought that the addition of an eighth period would mean early graduation would be possible (since 8 credits x 3 years = 24 credits, which is what’s needed to graduate). However, that hope was quickly dashed since students were told that if they were on track to graduate, they would not be allowed eight credits. That means that nearly every student has at least one off block, and while some are lucky enough to have them at the beginning or end of the day, most people have them right in the middle. This means more students roaming the hallways or making trips off campus: a nice first impression of the school for visitors.
CHS students aren’t exactly happy with the schedule for the first week of school, either: instead of the typical first day “all day”, where students get to meet all of their teachers for 45 minutes each, we started the year with eighty minute classes: just long enough so that teachers ran out of things to do with their students after going over the syllabus, and just short enough so that they couldn’t start learning new material. In fact, out of 77 students interviewed, just 30 percent thought that starting the year with the full block day (instead of the introductory all day) was a good idea.
But the main problem for the Sparts is the alternating schedule: where the schedule “alternates” odd/even every single day, disregarding weekends and breaks. This means that because the first week of school ended on an odd Friday, the next Monday became even. Although for the most part, this schedule operates on a two week cycle, that changes as soon as there’s an all day or an inservice day, and the schedule keeps going.
This schedule has its champions, like Ari Cesar, ASB President, who feels that this alternate schedule is “more consistent and [easier] to follow.” But he’s in the minority: out of 81 students interviewed, not even 25 percent think that this schedule is an improvement over the old schedule. Why is it so unpopular at Corvallis High? Turns out, there’s a number of reasons.
Of course, there are many students who are just plain confused by this new schedule. Already coming off the weekend, sophomore Olivia Remcho doesn’t think she’ll ever be able to remember if Mondays are odd or even. For junior Forrest Irvine, “it’s confusing to keep classes straight.” That problem only intensifies when off blocks are added to the mix. For me, my odd days include three AP classes, which makes it a huge deal if I bring the wrong notebooks, a problem that is only intensified with this new schedule.
Perhaps it’s harder for the upperclassmen and faculty who have the old schedules ingrained in their minds, and once we settle into a routine we’ll get used to it. Although Mae Curtis, a sophomore, thinks it’s confusing, she isn’t extremely opposed to it. In fact, sophomore Kate Duthil appreciates that “there’s an even amount of odd and even classes, and there’s no confusion on Friday.”
But even students who heard about it in the spring and wanted to give it a chance are already unhappy, just barely a month into the year. The off blocks are the root of most students’ problems with alternating classes, for a variety of reasons. Senior Eliza Reynolds says that with off blocks, “release times… [create] chaos for anyone with commitments [before or] after school.” For example, Cameron Montagne, a senior, can’t make the most out of her off blocks and work or schedule ongoing appointments, since her availability changes daily. And junior Sarah Forester, one of Corvallis High’s best tennis players, had some trouble figuring out her schedule too. Her private lesson with her coach is now every other week on Tuesday, but will have to be re-evaluated as soon as we have an all day during the week (which heads up, is October 24).
The Corvallis High website says, “we want to ensure that our students are prepared for life after high school.” However, this new schedule seems to have hindered more than helped, since students seeking outside opportunities have largely been met with dead ends as they try to fit everything into their schedule. For example, Grace Knutsen says that the schedule is “frustrating to work around for college classes and work schedules.” When this was raised to the district decision makers in the spring, the response was allegedly that they would work with students to figure it out. But from what it looks like, that has rarely been the case. Knutsen was considering taking a Tuesday/Thursday lecture class at OSU. But because of the new schedule, she says, “my schedule isn’t always the same on Tuesdays and Thursdays anymore and I can’t take the class.”
Another student, who prefers to be unnamed, says that it’s been “really difficult” for her to schedule time at her new internship.
But the district seems to be going around in circles, proposing new plan after new plan. In the last eight years, there have been six unique high school schedules. Why can’t they figure this out? Maybe because they’ve been asking the wrong people. Students and staff, who are the people most affected by this decision, haven’t been consulted — or when they’ve been consulted, their ideas and concerns have been largely ignored. Maybe with this latest misstep, they’ll think again: and Corvallis High is ready. CHS faculty came up with a solution last spring, and most of the students who’ve heard it like it, or at are least willing to give it a chance. Her proposal is this: Mondays would be “all” days, and Tuesday – Friday would operate on a standard alternating schedule. This way, teachers would see their students three times every week. The most time between classes would be three days (including a weekend). Although many CHS teachers, students, and parents alike approve of this schedule, for some reason when it was brought to district administrators last spring it was rejected. Why? Was it because of issues that weren’t addressed here, like students who take shuttle buses between the schools, or the students who have benefited from the (arguable) simplicity of this change? It certainly wasn’t because of Mr. Boring, who was (and continues to be) a proponent of the idea. Although both groups are in the minority of students here at CHS, it could also be due to pressure from those at Crescent Valley High School.
However, those affiliated with CHS have been left in the dark and largely ignored when it comes to their schedule proposals. I just hope that when the district inevitably decides to change the schedule again next spring, students, staff, and parents — the people this schedule affects the most — will be heard.
This editorial was written by editor-in-chief, Kari Gottfried, and was approved for publication by the editorial board of the High-O-Scope. As always, the views and opinions expressed in this article may or may not represent the views and opinions of the Corvallis High-O-Scope staff as a whole, the Corvallis High School administration, and/or the Corvallis School District. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact us at www.chshighoscope.com/about or firstname.lastname@example.org