New bell schedule will dismiss school at 4:45 starting tomorrow

Zev Hurwitz, Editor in Chief

If all goes as planned, gradually over the next 10 days the long-awaited new bell schedule will come into effect — but with a 4:45 p.m dismissal time instead of the 4:30 that students and faculty voted in October to approve. It will be similar to the one proposed by sophomore Daniel Schwartz, including a 55-minute lunch and Thursday Town Hall.

General Studies Principal Phu Tranchi said the 15 minutes had been added back to lengthen class time, since each class will now meet just four times per week, without a fifth meeting every third Friday.

“We’re going to dismiss at 4:45 instead of 4:30 to make up some of the class time lost,” Mr. Tranchi said in an interview Monday with The Boiling Point. “Classes will now be 47 minutes like last year.”

The changes will be felt gradually, because Chanukah starts tomorrow and requires a special schedule both for the saying of Hallel and for special holiday activities.  For the first time in school history, Chanukah dismissal will not be earlier than regular dismissal — it will be at 4:45, the new regular time, instead of 4 pm, as it had been in past years.

Judaic Studies Principal Rabbi Ari Leubitz said this was because most students were waiting until parents got home to light anyway, so a better use of the hour would be additional Chanukah programming in school.  Among the programs planned for this week and next are an Experiential Bet Midrash for ninth grade, a community service day connected with Aleinu, and a joint visit from area Rabbis Yosef Kanefsky, Elazar Muskin and Kalman Topp, who will answer student questions about Modern Orthodoxy.

“This year we have literally more than one Chanukah-related activity every single day, so we made the day a little longer so we could accommodate our vast programming,” Rabbi Leubitz said. “Of course families who do come home at 4 o’clock to light with permission will always be excused to leave early.”

When Chanukah is over, the official new bell schedule will start, the first day being Thursday, Dec. 9, Mr. Tranchi said. He did not provide a copy of the new schedule but said it would be “similar to last year in that classes would meet four times weekly for 47 minutes.” Friday classes would be shortened to 45 minutes and dismissal on Fridays will be at 1:55 p.m., 10 minutes later than in the past.

As in previous years,  the new schedule envisions a daily rotation of classes that do not meet. On Monday, the last period will be Period H with Period I not meeting. Period H will not meet on Tuesday, and Period G on Wednesday. To make room for Thursday Town Hall, Periods E and F will not meet on Thursday. Fridays will consist of Periods E through I and a 50 minute advisory.

Only a few technical kinks need to be dealt with before the new schedule is put in place,  Mr. Tranchi said.

“This new schedule is basically done,” Mr. Tranchi said. “The biggest concern is making sure that part time teachers are able to work their new times.”