New schedule means big changes and some controversy

Ashley Mashian, BP Staff

Jaclyn Kellner, Deputy Editor

Shofar, siddur, tallitThe bell schedue changes almost every year, but this year’s changes break the record for the most far-reaching ever at Shalhevet.

For the first time, all nine classes are meeting every day Monday through Thursday, instead of on a rotating schedule where eight classes met most days and the missed ones were made up on Fridays.

Now Fridays are set aside for Town Hall and Advisory, with three class periods getting an extra Friday session, rotating among the nine in a three-week cycle.

Except for on Fridays, class periods now are 45 minutes each, down from 47, and passing periods are back to four minutes after being cut to three last year. Lunch is condensed to 44 minutes from 53.

Attendance at Mincha is mandatory again after a two-year break under former head of school Rabbi Elchanan Weinbach, who gave students the option of davening Mincha after school at home.

And first period on Friday is an hour long, allotted to classes that meet Periods 1, 2 or 3 during the week.

“What the new schedule is trying to accomplish is better accountability and extra class time,” General Studies Principal Mr. Phu Tranchi told The Boiling Point. “This way everyone will always know where everyone is supposed to be, and we can hold students and teachers more accountable to be where they’re supposed to on time.”

On an average per-week basis, non-AP classes are gaining five-and-a-half minutes while AP classes – at least those which had received extra time in last year’s schedule because the class after breakfast was 56 minutes while AP classes – at least those which had received extra time in last year’s schedule because the class after breakfast was 56 minutes long – are losing eight minutes.

Passing periods are extended for accountability; if there are four minutes between classes, there is no excuse for tardiness, Mr. Tranchi said.

Mincha is now mandatory and attendance will be taken.  This restores school policy that had been changed by Rabbi Weinbach, who decided that during the times of the year when it was possible for students to daven Mincha at home, they didn’t need to do it at school, and could instead use that time to meet with clubs or teachers.

The same minyans that meet in the mornings will meet in the afternoons.

“Mincha was never optional,” Judaic Studies Principal Rabbi Leubitz said. “The assumption was that there was the option for people to go home and daven Mincha. We weren’t being honest—we all know people weren’t going home to daven Mincha. Shalhevet is an Orthodox school that follows halacha, so we’re going to require that everyone daven here on campus.”

Lunch has been condensed to 44 minutes from 53 minutes to accommodate the extra class and passing periods. Students learning of this change worried it would make it impossible for clubs to meet, partly because of crowding in the cafeteria.

“If you’re buying your lunch then half of your lunch time is wasted standing in line,” said sophomore Yael Wiener.

As chair of Shalhevet’s AIPAC Committee, senior Lauren Mohabber is trying to adjust her meeting plans to fit the shorter lunch periods.

“In 40 minutes, which turn into 30 minutes because of the time it takes for people to get lunch, it cannot all happen,” said Lauren. “I guess we will have to split people up among tasks and rotate to save time.”

The shorter lunch periods impact Koreh LA, a program where Shalhevet students help elementary school students at LA Unified’s Carthay Center School with reading.

Mr. Tranchi said Koreh LA, which in the past has sent at least 15 students at lunchtime once a week and about five on Fridays after school, would now only meet Fridays.

Fridays will have only three classes, instead of the five in previous years. First period is an hour long, followed by davening, breakfast and a 50-minute meeting of Ma’agal Hakshava, the Advisory program.  Dean of Students Mr. Roy Danovitch, who directs Advisory, was pleased with this change.

“I’d rather focus the time on Friday ma’agal,” Mr. Danovitch said. “It allows us to integrate serious curriculum into Council in conjunction with Town Hall for a more reflective day.”

The other two classes are the standard 45 minutes, separated by Town Hall and 25 minutes of snack.

This is the first time in Shalhevet history that Town Hall has been moved from its perch at midday on Thursdays.

Agenda Chair Toby Bern had mixed feelings about the change.

“On one hand the student body will definitely be rejuvenated for Town Hall because there will only be one class before it,” said Toby. “But at the same time I fear that attendance will decrease because people might ditch school on Friday if there are only three classes.”

According to Mr. Tranchi, the schedule is supposed to be less confusing especially for new students. Returning students fear that Friday’s schedule will just make remembering what class to go to more difficult.

“Fridays will be confusing,” senior Eli Willis said. “I also feel like Friday won’t be as serious of a day if we only have three classes.”

Others are excited.

“I think Fridays will be interesting,” senior Lauren Mohabber said. “They’re diverse.”