Schedule changes cause chaos at LOHS

Madeleine Herion, Design/Photography Editor

Students and teachers alike are frustrated and disoriented due to the semester two schedule changes that, unlike previous years, impact not only single semester electives but also year long core classes.  The vast majority of students have entirely different A and B days, including classes swapping between the two different days.  It’s a mess and created unneeded stress that we’re not used to in February.  The beginning of semester two is like the first day of school all over again: learning new names, accidentally going to the wrong class, awkwardly entering the room and not knowing where to sit.  Not only has it impacted the social and organizational aspects of high school, but the logistical side too.  Class sizes are all over the board; some periods are up to 30 students while others are down near 15.  

“It threw me for a loop,” said junior, Garrett Anderson.  “I finally got into a rhythm and then my schedule was swapped twice.”  Peers agree that the changes have completely altered the classroom environment and adjusting has been challenging.  

Another junior, Keegan Tippetts, says that he “feels like an outsider when it comes to classroom norms and it’s difficult to wrap my head around those things.”  Students form friendships inside classes and become comfortable in a specific atmosphere.  In all honesty, each period forms their own connection.  Disrupting that bond is not only uncomfortable, it’s disappointing.

Students are not the only ones struggling to adjust to the change, teachers are as well.  Freshman and senior English teacher, Mary Dailey, said that “Monday and Tuesday [the first days of the new schedules] felt like I was restarting the school year with new faces in all my senior classes and more importantly new class communities and cultures.  Typically by late January/early February, things feel comfortable and people have really gotten to know one another, but with so many new (or rearranged) faces in my classes, it felt a bit tense and awkward…”  Several interviewed teachers also claimed that they’ve observed spikes in anxiety and stress in their students due to the abrupt switch.  

Staff members are also noticing their student to teacher ratios either skyrocketing or plunging.  Math teacher, Kerri Michael, stated that one of her classes is down to 13 students while another is over double with 30.  Both Dailey and Michael prefer when their students do not change periods mid year, aligning their views with Anderson, Tippetts and practically the rest of the student body who have expressed their opinion over the past two weeks.

The reasoning behind the schedule changes comes down to the organization of student’s forecasting issues that counselors and administrators deal with before the start of every school year.  Assistant principal, Brian Crawford said that this new strategy is essential in order to “build a schedule that allows students to get the classes that they want and class sizes to stay relatively low,” concluding that, “If we [administration and counselors] did not allow students to switch class periods, we would have either needed to allow for larger class sizes, or we would have prevented [students] from taking one or two of [the single] semester courses.”  

Crawford does recognize, however, that students and teachers develop the strong classroom communities that have been acknowledged and will take this into account when planning for next year.  “We will be looking to see if there are specific courses where it would be more important to try to maintain the same groupings of students in a particular section for the entire year… After reflecting on this year, we will use our collective experience to inform the choices that we make when building the schedule for next year.” 

It seems that the collective experience that Crawford is searching for is overwhelmingly negative.  78 percent of sophomore honors English students expressed some sort of adverse feeling about the schedule changes, and it is rare that an individual would wholeheartedly disagree with them.  The people have spoken LOHS administration: schedule changes are not the move and we all hope that they will not continue in the future.