Principal notes several advantages of new schedule

Barthel says academic time continues at first semester levels


Ava Amos

Principal Mrs. Julie Barthel explained the many advantages of the new schedule that was put into place for the second semester.

Ava Amos, Co-Editor-in-Chief

It may come as no surprise that the administration released a new schedule for the second semester, but it’s all for good reason. Principal Mrs. Julie Barthel provided insights regarding how this new schedule came to be as well as her own thoughts the changes.  

Barthel said, “We felt like the benefits of the other schedule, like having a seven-day rotating cycle and seeing kids at different times of day, were not being able to be fully utilized because of Covid. Things like flex — I love flex — there’s brain research that shows kids should be able to do what they need to do at school. But because of Covid and having to stay in pods, we couldn’t have flex. We thought we needed to look at the schedule and see if we could make some changes that would work for Covid.”

The idea of a schedule switch stemmed from the sudden shutdown of school in November due to the virus’s spike. With the help of the Academic Leadership Team, which includes Vice Principal for Academics Mr. Mark Matthews, STEM director Dr. Aarti Brooks, humanities director Mrs. Lizabeth Bradshaw, counseling director Mrs. Gretchen Watko, and Holy Cross director Ms. Ashley Hill, the new schedule was created.

Barthel said, “We came up with our eLearning schedule, which we thought would be best, and again was very much driven by what was student-centered and research-based, so we had a late start because all the research shows that because of teenage sleep patterns, we should start later. We mirrored (this new schedule) off of our eLearning schedule and then we felt like that would be a better transition coming back. (It would be better) to not have to come back to a brand new schedule, but to almost simulate the schedule we had during eLearning.”

We have the exact same academic minutes that we had the first semester and in some periods we have more minutes.”

— Principal Mrs. Julie Barthel

Barthel added that she likes the schedule for all of the benefits she mentioned. She said, “It’s very student-centered, (and) that’s what we need to do, (to) put things in place that help out students. Also, (it’s) research-based and I think because of Covid, and just in general, teenagers are under a lot of stress and social-emotional pressure. So having five classes a day and five classes to do homework for a night is nice for students.

“And yet we didn’t lose any academic minutes. We have the exact same academic minutes that we had the first semester and in some periods we have more minutes.”

The schedule also allows for flexibility for teachers, with office hours for 45 minutes on three of the mornings and time to teachers to meet, plan and collaborate for 45 minutes of two days during each five-day cycle.

The principal added she likes that changes to the academic schedule are always going to be based on feedback from several teachers and administrators. Barthel said, “My Academic Leadership team is always going to make a decision like this. We’re always going to put students first (as well as that of) the social-emotional health of students. Parents and students should know that when we make a decision like this, it’s very thoughtful and we always try to use research and put students first.”