Our Opinion: This Year’s Schedule Could Use Further Improvements


This year’s schedule has certainly undergone many changes since last year, not all of which are welcomed by students. Mainly, the number of classes on a regular day has been changed from four to six per day. This change helps to secure each week into a predictable timetable, one drastically different from last year’s somewhat chaotic weekly schedule. However, while the modification allows for shorter class times, it also increases the amount of homework given each night. On the other hand, Fruit Break has returned, even longer than in years past. It was sorely missed by last year’s 7th and 8th graders and is happily welcomed back.

Other changes have been much more problematic. To start, Office Hours seems to be an ever-changing variable for students, jumping around in the schedule for the past three years as a result of evolving COVID restrictions. Office Hours last year was less useful for students than usual. As a result of its confusing placement as the last twenty minutes of each class period, many teachers ignored the idea altogether or regarded it as more of a suggestion of what to do with their time. Some students even found their Office Hours being manipulated into extra class time for teachers. This year’s Office Hours is occupying its own timetable, which students are more than grateful for.

Still, some teachers are finding it hard to break the habit, especially when the same period of Office Hours follows right after that class. Different teachers have different rules for their Office Hours. In some sessions, students can go to any other class they want, while other teachers don’t allow students to leave for anything but Required Office Hours. Moreover, some teachers favor students who come to their Office Hours freely, telling them vital information about upcoming assessments or important details for assignments. Unsurprisingly, this special treatment frustrates students who might need help in another subject, but don’t want to miss out. 

Office Hours in the middle of the day has also largely impacted athletes this year, who don’t even have time to eat a snack before they have to sprint to Turner and change. Perhaps pushing back sports start times or even moving Office Hours back to the end of the day would help students to eat and hydrate before their practices and competitions.

Lunch is also a problem because it’s been cut down to a mere twenty-five minutes, which is mostly spent waiting for food. Most students only have ten minutes to eat before they have to rush back to their classrooms. Some teachers don’t even wait for their students to come back from lunch before they continue teaching. Hungry students often feel grumpy or unproductive, all because they didn’t have enough time to eat more than three bites of chicken parmesan. Students would definitely cherish a longer lunch period if administrators would be open to it.

Finally, we also find the new Friday schedule extremely stressful. Without recess or Office Hours to lighten the workload, students feel overwhelmed and anxious on Fridays instead of excited for the weekend. And yet teachers expect students to be bright and ready to learn or take tests and wonder why we seem so resigned after three classes. While faculty may appreciate the value of a shorter day, it’s not a fair trade-off for students. After homeroom, students have almost four hours in a row of classes without a single break. The only thing resembling a break after lunch is Community Time, which often feels like another class in the form of a virtual assembly or video for us to watch and discuss by homeroom. Occasionally we get to have clubs, but only every month or so. Many clubs can’t get much done at all because members forget each other’s names before they meet again. 

Clearly, the schedule could continue to evolve. To start off, Westminster Paw Prints proposes having clubs meet every week possible, except for necessary assemblies, to make Fridays easier. Beyond this simple modification, we appreciate that the administration is willing to tinker with our schedule, and hopefully over time we can come to more compromises between students and faculty.