By Erin Holly McDermott, Editorial Staff (‘23)
In the past couple of weeks, a lot has changed within the Ramapo-Indian Hills School District. One of the significant changes is the change in student schedule. Students and teachers have conflicting viewpoints regarding the modified schedule.
The most notable change in this new schedule is the elongated class periods. Previously, students followed a 30-minute schedule, which allowed the break between morning and afternoon classes to be about 1 ½ hour. However, this break has now been reduced to about an hour. Currently, there are six morning and three-afternoon classes. The morning classes now meet for 40 minutes, while the afternoon classes meet for 30 minutes. Student’s also complete their days at 2:39 instead of the previous 2:04.
Some students have reacted positively to the change: arguing it provides stability and allows students to receive a more “normal” education. Hailey Struz, a freshman hybrid student, said, “The new schedule is good; I mean, it holds stability for those who follow it and keep up with it. Overall I’d say it’s a step forward in the right direction.” This change is undoubtedly a step towards last year’s schedule of 44-minute classes. However, this proves to be the minority opinion for students.
One of the perks of hybrid/virtual learning was the shortened periods, which allowed students’ attention span to be catered to as due to COVID-19, many people’s attention spans have been reduced significantly. It also provided students’ a chance to better learn time management skills. The shortened periods proved to be a small perk amid the situation COVID-19 brought. Allison Trolaro, a sophomore hybrid student, stated, “I think that the new schedule is getting us ready for when we get back to school, but I don’t enjoy the 40 minute periods.” This seems to be the consensus for most students: recognition of necessity, however wishing circumstances were different.
On the other hand, the previous schedule offered quite a challenge for staff and teachers. Fitting an entire lesson into a 30-minute time-frame proved to be difficult. Mrs. Frissora, an English teacher at Indian Hills, elaborated on the matter: “No schedule is perfect, but I think the new schedule is easier to follow than the previous one. As a teacher, I like the longer morning periods–those extra 10 minutes make a big difference as far as content goes. The full rotation is beneficial, too; I also enjoy getting to see my morning classes in the afternoons sometimes and my afternoon classes in the morning. Some students learn better in the morning, and some learn better in the afternoon, so I’m glad there is more opportunity for students to learn and engage at the time that works best for them on certain days. It is a challenge keeping on top of the rotations, but like everything in 2020, this is a temporary solution with a major learning curve. We all need to be a little kinder to ourselves and each other as we figure it out and adjust.”
All in all, there are lessons to be learned on either side of the debate. Students must realize the necessity of the situation. A return to normalcy has been the goal since March, and this is a step towards that. However, teachers must also understand that six 40-minute classes constantly sitting at a computer is difficult as well. There is a lot to learn on both sides, and hopefully, the situation will clear up soon enough.