Schedule change rumor not true

The Southerner

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By Rachel Citrin

What if you only took four classes one semester and then took a different four classes the next semester? What if there were no more A-days and B-days, but instead, those four classes met every single day? Rumors about the possible change in schedules have been circulating around Grady for the past few weeks. Students and teachers have been wondering if students will only be taking four classes each semester and meeting every day. This rumor, however, was confirmed by Dr. Murray to be false, and that the schedule will not be changing.

“The rumor was that we were going to change,” Dr. Murray, principle, said. “The reality is that principals had a meeting to discuss the benefit or liability of each scheduling format. Principals felt that when students transferred from a 4×8 school (like Grady) to a 4×4 school (like Carver), that there was classes that were not available to them and [that] it also impacted students who transferred from 4×4 schools to a 4×8 school. The concern was that students could not take the courses they needed when transferring in the middle of the semester because of the type of schedule that a given school was on.”

A lot of confusion circulated about the rumor. “I never really heard any [of the] rumors,” George Darden, World History teacher, said. “I knew that the central office was discussing a change to our schedule, and I knew that Dr. Murray was part of the committee to try and keep our schedule the same.  When the central office decided to keep it the same, we received an e-mail from Dr. Murray letting us know.”

The change would have made a huge difference on education. “People do not always realize the importance of the school schedule and the profound influence the school schedule has on teaching and learning,” Darden said.  “Everything else—all teaching and learning—flow from the way that the day is arranged.  A change to the schedule impacts every aspect of school life.  The problem is that policymakers don’t often treat it as the significant change that it is.  They will propose a change to the school schedule, but not a change to all of the other things that are affected by the school schedule, like testing requirements, graduation requirements, and teacher evaluation schemes.  If you are going to overhaul the schedule, you need to overhaul the whole system.”

Teachers seem to have a mix of feelings of relief and disappointment. “We will be on the same schedule next year as we have this year,” Scott Stephens, English teacher, said. “I think that is a wise decision, especially with teachers who have AP classes.”

Many students seem to agree as well.

“I think it may cause students to fall in this sort of redundant loop,” senior Marius Jackson said. “The reason why I like block schedule is because it allows for a variety of classes at once, and you won’t have to see the same exact faces everyday- that’s boring. On the other hand, you would probably have an easier time comprehending whatever you’re learning rather than alternating and having to slightly adjust once you attend the class again the day after next.”

Other teachers may recognize the benefits of a change but do not think that good results would be viable.

“I think that changing the schedule can be beneficial if it’s done as part of an overall different approach to schooling,” Darden said. “If you leave everything else the same but change the schedule, it can be a detriment.  For example, a 4×4 block schedule (such as they use at some APS schools) can be a great thing.  It promotes deeper learning, which may help students to learn to use their minds well.  For a 4×4 to reach its potential, though, you need to have interdisciplinary classes, multiple teachers working together on broad educational goals, and more project-based learning.  Those changes, in turn, mean that you need to reconsider what a “good teacher” looks like and how students would demonstrate their mastery of content.  Teachers would have to be trained. Policymakers don’t want to make all of those changes; they just want to change the schedule.  And that’s inadequate in itself to be of any help to students or teachers.”



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