Late starts aren’t that simple

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Right now the administration is asking for student feedback surrounding a proposed calendar for the 2019-2020 school year.

While I’ll no longer attend New Trier when the calendar would go into effect, I still feel compelled to say that I don’t think we should have late starts on Wednesday.

The proposal for next year’s calendar is to replace early dismissals and late arrivals, starting each Wednesday at 9:30 rather than 8:15. While it might seem crazy that I would object to starting late once a week, it’s not without reason.

I understand the initial allure, but once I started to truly consider all of the implications that would result from the late start, it’s no longer worth it to me.

My first major issue with the schedule is how it affects early-bird students. I am currently taking early bird gym for the second year, and because of this, I am able to have a more balanced schedule and a free period every day.

Many students have similar situations that cause them to take early bird classes as well. With the new proposed schedule, early bird sciences would only meet four days a week but would start ten minutes earlier every day to make up the lost time.

While this might not seem like a big deal to those who don’t take early bird, when you have to wake up before the sunrise, trust me, every minute is precious.

Additionally, it breaks up the continuity of these science classes by not meeting in the middle of the week.

This proposed schedule isn’t just problematic for early bird students. Due to the late start, on Wednesday each period would be 33 minutes rather than the standard 40. It isn’t likely that teachers would want to test on a day when there are seven fewer minutes of class, so they’ll change the date of the test. This would cause students to have more tests on the other four days of the week and could cause teachers to start new units before the test. Both of these options increase student stress, which is the exact opposite of what this schedule is supposed to do.

The proposed schedule wouldn’t just put stress on students, but parents as well. Many students are driven to school by their parent who is on their way to work.

If this schedule went into effect these students would no longer have a way to get to school every Wednesday. While it is possible for the student to get dropped off early, getting to school early on a late start defeats the purpose.

Yet another issue with this proposed schedule is how it affects lab days. The new schedule would cause lab days to be Monday/Thursday and Tuesday/Friday to avoid having a double period on Wednesday. Though we haven’t had many five day weeks yet this year, on those occasions, by the time Friday rolls around, students and teachers alike are ready for the weekend, and no one wants a double period.

I’ll admit it would be nice to sleep in a little more on Wednesdays, but we would have to sacrifice early dismissal and late arrivals to achieve that.

These weekends hold importance, to seniors especially, as they make it easier for students to tour colleges without missing as many classes. Even if you aren’t touring schools, these weekends can be a crucial time for many seniors to work on their college applications.

This proposed schedule is being marketed to students as a way they can help reduce stress. While it might seem to reduce stress initially, once you stop to consider all the changes that would be made, the stress seems to have just moved around rather than diminished.

The administration has sent out a survey that is open to both parents and students regarding the proposed schedule. I encourage everyone to take the survey so the administration can receive genuine feedback. Regardless of how you feel about the schedule, let the school know because I doubt it’s as simple as getting more sleep and being less stressed.

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