How has the nine-week schedule affected the school?

Cameron Edwards, Co-Editor

     This fall, when students returned to school, there were many changes. One change included the nine week schedule, which, currently asks students to complete a semesters worth of work in nine weeks by attending four classes every day. For example, a student might have four classes every day for nine weeks. Then after nine weeks, the student moves to B day classes and completes another semester worth of work in another nine week period. 

     In August, Principal Samuel Zogg introduced to teachers the nine-week schedule when they met for the first time in person to discuss the reopening of Teton High School for the 2020-21 school year.              

     Zogg said, “I presented our regular schedule, the one we currently have. I presented an eight-period day. We looked at trimesters for a second, but we couldn’t without revamping [the master schedule] what takes 2 months.” However, no teacher recalls going over more than one schedule.

     Zogg sent out a survey on October 7, asking questions about the nine-week schedule. The survey was sent to all students, teachers, and parents. Approximately 57.5 percent of the participants in the survey said that the schedule is satisfactory. 42.5 percent of the responses were by parents, 45 percent by students, and 12.5 percent by staff members including, paraprofessionals, teachers, and cafeteria cooks. Data was collected from three different groups of people. Data was not sorted into how the students feel as one collective group.

     Many teachers said that the schedule has not benefited, but rather hurt students. Science teacher Sara Montesano said, “Originally, I was open and I thought I would see if it helped because they had less classes to focus on, but all of my test scores have been down this year as compared to years in the past.” 

     Students who are taking difficult classes have found it hard for many of them to keep up on the work load. Senior Nathan Hill said, “My main issue with the nine-week schedule is that it eliminates all of the benefits of the AB schedule, as you do not have the extra time to take care of homework assignments with the extra oneday cushion between each class.”

     Hill also said, “It was noticeably harder to make up work with the new nine-week schedule as opposed to the AB schedule.” Hill was absent for one week during the first nine week period 

     Music teacher Julie Schindler feels the schedule affects her class in a negative way if the nine-week schedule continues through the year, she will not see her high school orchestra students until March. Schindler said, “It has worked well for the first nine weeks, but I’m worried about my students who I have now had for a very concentrated amount of time, and then I won’t see them at all for the next more than nine weeks.”

     Some students will not be taking a math or English class for months. Deb Woolstenhulme, a counselor at the high school, said “A big concern I have is if you have math now, A day, you’re done for eighteen weeks [six months] and then you don’t have the other kind of math until the end of the school year.” 

     Math teacher, Dayna Long said, “I feel like the retention is better and it’s nice to have the consistency of being there every day. The only downside is they do have math every day, they a lot of times get homework every day.” For lower level math students, the math teachers have found it is easier for them to retain information on a day-to-day basis in their math classes. Contrary to what Montesano said, Long stated that her test scores have remained the same compared to previous years.

     Some staff members said that their work load has greatly increased, Woolstenhulme said she is now changing schedules all year. Normally she has to change schedules twice a year, however with the new nine-week schedule, she is now changing schedules every nine weeks for students. 

     Alongside normal classes some students at the high school are taking online classes. During the nine week schedule, a student may have their class hour to complete IDLA on A days, but not B days. Some students may not have a designated class hour during the nine week period to complete their IDLA class work. 

     “It’s revolting,” said Senior Gavin Behrens in an interview, “I signed up for an IDLA class, so it would have been another class I have to take and then I put an IDLA class in my schedule, but it ended up on B day. So with that B day IDLA class, my IDLA course that I’m taking now will have already ended by the time B day starts, so I just have a period where I do nothing.”