OPINION: Let students help solve the schedule problem

By the BP Editorial Board

We’ve all come to expect the moans and groans of stressed-out juniors and seniors.  But sophomores?  Freshmen?

This year’s new schedule, which was imposed on the students, rather than decided on democratically, burdens underclassmen by shortening their lunch period to about half an hour, and adding an extra class period to their day.

That means less time for them to rest, bond with their friends and upperclassmen, and receive in-school teacher support.

It also means upperclassmen can’t find their math teachers, most of whom teach during the MAP period that is the second half of upperclassmen’s lunch.

Moreover, student-run clubs that used to meet during a full lunch period are losing precious meeting time and attendance.

With a 30- or 37-minute lunch for underclassmen, depending on the day, clubs such as Finance, Film, Fashion, Politics, and Firehawks 4 Israel are struggling to meet, and when they do, attendance is down from past years, even though school enrollment is up.

Like any other issue that affects our school, we see a clear way to solve this year’s schedule crisis. And that is with student input.

The Just Community provides all the tools we need to tackle this problem – transparency of reasoning, communal buy-in for whatever is decided, and perhaps most important, the engine of student creativity.

Some might say that if students are complaining so much, they should have spoken up earlier.  But when these schedule changes were being considered – over a period of three years, according to Lucy Fried’s report in this issue – students were completely unaware they were even under discussion.

This year’s schedule poses a threat to the overall culture of Shalhevet and we believe it must be addressed as soon as possible.  Next year – as Rabbi Segal suggested at a Sept. 8 news conference with Boiling Point editors – seems pretty far away.

Scheduling is undoubtedly one of the hardest tasks of a school, especially one that tries to do as many things well as Shalhevet does.  But that should not stop us from trying to fix it. Let the students help.