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A New Bell Schedule

Over the years at ERHS, we’ve seen the rise and fall of a multitude of proposed and enacted bell schedules. From bell schedules of 2015 and 2016 featuring 8 and 7 periods a day respectively to the mundane 1-2-1 block schedule we faced in 2017. Here we are now, about to face yet another schedule, one we’ve had for two years. Students attend two long periods until a short break for lunch is given, after which students must attend the last two periods of the day.

The reason we’ve had so many bell schedules is that we have to address the question: how do you balance the amount of time we spend learning with enough break time for students to let them enjoy their time at school? Clearly, our administration has had trouble constructing a perfect schedule as a new schedule will be voted on for the next school year. For that reason, I am proposing a new, nearly flawless bell schedule for the school to put in action.

Instead of having 20 periods a week, 4 per day, I am putting forth a plan to improve the schedule to feature only one day of instruction per week. On this day, preferably Monday, students would attend all 20 class periods they would normally have during a week. Each class would be one hour and twelve minutes long, with the rest of the week given as a break to maintain student happiness.

You may be wondering why such a schedule should ever be used, but the research suggests that it may be the best shot yet for this school to have a balanced schedule. In a study conducted in 2012 led by Mary Helen Immordino-Yang in collaboration with colleagues at USC and MIT, it was found that longer breaks were found to give the brain more time to consolidate memories and lets students expend energy they’d otherwise use misbehaving in class.

So then, the goal is to maximize the amount of time spent taking a break all at once. The easiest, most humane, most streamlined, most competent, most masterful, most capable, most efficient way to accomplish this is by giving students a 6-day long break of course.

However, just because the research supports this new schedule doesn’t mean students will. After all, students have a proven track record to disregard what is best for them based on personal biases. Yet, this isn’t the case here, as proven by my interviews with various students.

Here’s what people have said about the proposed schedule:

Sebastian Paredes: “It sounds kind of ridiculous, but with school constantly changing the schedule I honestly would be ok to try it for a trial period.”

Miguel Navarro: “I would absolutely, definitely, love having six days off a week”

Kenny Ramirez: “...humma?”

Ruby Ardon: “Who wouldn’t enjoy having more break time?”

Alice Lee: “Get out of my class bozo!”

Ethan Horn: “This is a great idea, it gives me more time to focus on myself! And, of course, when I do go to school I’d be excited and ready to learn.”

Although such a large change might seem difficult to pull off all at once, without a doubt it is doable. The students at ERHS have proved themselves extremely adaptable and supporting this new schedule. The research supports it, the students support it, all that’s left is administration to put it into action.

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