Two changes on schedule for second semester
As first semester comes to a close, the Maine West administration is evaluating possible faults of the block schedule. With that, students can expect two major changes over the next few months.
The first change is in response to the overcrowded lunch periods. During the X and Z lunch periods on block days, there are 500 students with their normal free period and about 800 students who have the extra block lunch. This puts over 1300 students in the lunch room at the same time.
“We knew that dynamic was going to happen, but when [the students] experienced it, we realized we had to do something about this,” explained assistant principal David Matkovic. “The reality is, virtually every version of the block schedule that other schools use do have some of the blocks split by the lunch for that very reason.”
To fix this, about a third of the classes will be split into two 45 minute segments. Students will have class during the X segment, lunch during the Y segment and the second part of class during the Z segment.
In order to give all teachers experience with the split classes, the math and English classes will be subject to this change during third quarter. Their schedules will return to normal for fourth quarter when the social science, foreign language and elective classes test out the split classes.
Some classes (like science, PE and CTE classes) are on the “untouchables” list in order to give them the block to do labs and exercises without interruption. The band and orchestra classes are still under consideration to be added to this list.
Other changes to further reduce lunch room sizes next year are being discussed but have not yet been confirmed.
The other change students will see next semester is to the bell schedule on the block days. “One issue we’ve heard—from students and staff—is that we would like to have announcements imbedded in the school day. So we’re adopting what Maine South has done since about a month ago,” Matkovic said.
The passing periods will be shortened from ten minutes to eight in order to make time for the PA announcements. Unfortunately, this will cause classes to end on odd minutes. For example, first and second periods will end at 9:41, then third and fourth will end at 11:19. This will leave 6 minutes for announcements in the morning.