With the culmination of the school year’s first quarter, the upper school community experienced the first of two pairs of late-start block schedule days Thursday and Friday.
Head of Upper School Laura Ross welcomed the trial days after members of Prefect Council discussed ways to adjust the current schedule to reduce student stress. The Scheduling Committee also incorporated a shadow program for faculty to spend the block schedule days with a variety of different students. The findings will be used to help plan a series of changes for the 2020-2021 school year.
The late-start days came in pairs: periods 1, 3, 5 and 7 met on the first day and periods 2, 4, 6 and 8 met on the next. Both school days started at 10 a.m., and each class was 70-minutes long.
Carli Cooperstein ’20 said she appreciated being able to get more sleep in the mornings.
“I definitely can see a difference in my day when I get more sleep,” Cooperstein said. “I’m more alert, and I focus better in my classes. I feel like a better version of myself.”
The late-start days also allowed students to enjoy their mornings with friends and family, Calista Chu ’20 said.
“I think that the late-start schedule was a great opportunity to do things before school that I normally can’t do, like eat breakfast with friends or pick up coffee before school,” Chu said. “Even though I felt that the classes were a little too long for my attention span, I’m definitely a fan of the late start.”
Despite these benefits, the extended classes and shared 25-minute break in the middle of classes prevented students from having a smooth day, Sabina Yampolsky ’20 said.
“Seventy minutes of one class is just too much in my opinion,” Yampolsky said. “Also, the lunch period was really hectic and short. Both food trucks, as well as the cafeteria, were packed.”
The block schedule was also inconvenient for students with undistributed class schedules, Sapir Levy ’20 said.
“The block schedule didn’t offer enough breaks between the long periods that were mentally strenuous,” Levy said. “I also had a difficult time finding time to meet with teachers, as there were fewer possible common free periods in the day. Overall, I prefer the normal schedule because the fast paced routine keeps me alert and productive.”
The administration plans to hold the second pair of the late-start schedule days during the third quarter.