New Bell Schedule For Rancho Buena Vista High School
New Bell Schedule For Rancho Buena Vista High School
My name is Christopher Kalani Williams, a senior here at RBV. As it stands of now, Rancho Buena Vista's bell schedule for virtual learning is overwhelming its students and works counter intuitively to productivity. A question that comes into play is, "What happens once and if the classic model (publicly attended school) is permitted?" Will the bell schedule be any different than it is now? How will teachers balance virtual classes vs in-school attendance? These are all questions that will be answered through time. However, there are equity issues within the structure of Virtual Learning that need to be addressed. The ethical concerns can be broken down into three categories: Time Consumption, Productiveness, and Mental Health. Each will be discussed along with explanations as to why this alternative bell schedule imposes more justice to its students and resolves the issues of virtual learning.
Students spend close to 6 hours a day on their computers or any devices they can use to access zoom meetings set up by teachers. The day goes from 8:30 to 2:45, and there are small time periods of breaks between each class period, with an exception of lunch. 7th period is another hour after school officially ends, and some seventh's don't operate within the boundaries of that time period. For instance, avid classes going over the hour mark or extracurricular activities starting later. The topic of productiveness is an ethical issue that was mentioned before. After the 6+ hours of online schooling, students are told they are going to do more work on computers. Why is it that the work isn't done during a meeting? The main purpose of school is to conduct discussions and inform. Schoolwork is within that field. Homework is given to check the individual's understanding. However, there is a huge intermix between homework and schoolwork, especially due to the setting of how school is forced to be conducted. A revision is needed to ensure students are properly being taught their course, and that their time spent in class is valid.
Productiveness within zoom meetings is probably one of the biggest equity issues found in the scheduling of RBV’s virtual bell schedule. There's such a variety of ways work is unproductive during these lengthy hours. For example, both teachers and students alike may have poor internet connection, especially under conditions where there are numerous students in a meeting. What does connection speed have to do with productivity you might be wondering? Delayed connection speeds make virtual learning all that much harder, especially when it can affect a whole class if even a single person suffers from poor internet connection. The production during class is based on note-taking from watching another screen or participating in over-lengthy discussions, the time taken out of a student's day is not being accounted for. For instance, a lot of the time spent on zoom meetings are either debriefing or discussions. In my experience, sitting in a classroom for an hour and fifteen minutes learning how to mail an envelope isn't exactly productive. Going on tangents when discussing an open-ended topic to students whose mics are always muted not only loses attention, but prevents them from thinking on their own. We don't know if they're even listening. Turning down the volume on your computer is an option, and a live face cam won't prevent that. Students are sitting behind a computer, silent for 90% of the period, and we accomplish virtually nothing. It's not to completely negate the entire productivity of zoom meetings because there are a lot of benefits. However, for having to sit through over five hours of redundancy, it becomes draining. For instance, the majority of students’ learning takes place after class when they practice the material they were debriefed about in class, but notes can only help to an extent when we’re teaching the use of it to ourselves. There are many sub-options that will be listed later on in this petition that serves as a solution to maximizing the potential productiveness each class period should have.
Our students' mental health should always come first. When you are trapped in a world of isolation where do you go? Who or what do you turn to? It would most likely be a friend, or the internet, or some other outlet that you find alleviates your stress. However, most of one’s feelings are kept confidential and to themselves because they’re already at home and environments differ. It’s hard to find any sort of privacy in quarantine, which is already draining the mental stability of people around the world. There's so much time taken out of our day for virtual learning that it becomes a struggle to manage everyday life: social relationships, after-school activities, work, homework, etc. Another concern with online learning are the harmful effects of Blue Lighting. Scientific research shows excessive Blue Light can have many negative effects on the human body. For example, blue light can affect circadian rhythm, which is the body’s natural wake and sleep cycle. It’s hard enough as it is to sit in front of a screen and demonstrate attentiveness while being half-asleep. However, it’s even worse when you become overly drowsy due to disrupted sleeping patterns. In addition, blue light can cause eye-strains, which are more common than Macular Degeneration (also an effect of blue light and the leading cause of blindness). Staring into the void of a computer screen for long durations of time is unhealthy for both teachers and students alike. Simply believing that the ethical concerns with scheduling and teaching coursework will be resolved once public school returns is not enough. A better plan needs to be executed so that our students can continue education in a way that will prepare them for life and college.
Benefits of New Schedule
What am I petitioning? I am petitioning for shortened school days as well as an alternative method to teaching.
If the time put into schoolwork isn’t as productive as it should be, the time spent should be lessened in order to reverse its effect. Shortening the school days comes with an immense probability for greater academic success as well as individual accomplishment. For example, if classes aren’t as productive as they should be then the students’ time is wasted. To combat that, we can shorten the school days, but make it so that the classes retain the same amount of learning time needed to be successful. Each class with the current schedule ranges from 45 - 75 minutes, and the day is organized to fit the old bell schedule: Late start Monday (1-6), block periods Tuesday, Wednesday (even, odd), and 1-6 Thursday, Friday. School would be in session at 7:30 (except for late start Mondays), and end at 2:30. As of right now, virtual scheduling begins at 8:30 and ends at 2:45. To make block periods less lengthy and more ethical for long durations of class time, block periods are set up to have 2 course classes over a span of 3 days, that would be the equivalent to the amount of time spent on a block day of the old bell schedule (150 minutes). The problem with having a long school day with oddly organized block schedules, is that teachers are looking for things to do during the zoom meetings when they might not have anything. Furthermore, having four classes to worry about doing homework for instead of three with a one day gap in time, is troublesome to say the least. It makes up for Thursdays, but you have to keep in mind that there is a global pandemic that is still ongoing, and student’s have daily lives outside of school. Going over work as a whole, spending surplus time on debriefing instructions, and discussing topics in small groups are all extremely time consuming and show low levels of productivity. Almost every period of every day has been like such for the last month. Having lengthy days only makes virtual learning more counter intuitive. Here is where the new bell schedule comes into play.
The new bell schedule operates from 8:00 to 12:20 with 7th periods from 1-2:00 (as most seventh’s go over designated times). PLC and 0 period times will be from 6:55-7:55 and there will also be an abridge of break time. The necessity for shortened breaks is due to the fact that its time is used as mental preparation for the long durations of class ahead. By shortening the days and classes, small breaks are almost rendered irrelevant. Overestimation of time is the essential flaw within the current RBV virtual scheduling. The new one that I’ve created is designed to fix its predecessor’s flaws. There are 4 periods, each an hour long Monday through Wednesday (the median of classes ranging from 45 minutes to 75 minutes a day), and 75 minutes for 3 periods on Thursday and Friday. Thursday will be periods 1, 2, and 3, while Friday will be periods 4, 5, and 6. You can look at the image of the petition to get a visual reference. The break time in-between periods will be adjusted to 5 minutes for all days. Finally, the total amount of time using this schedule will equal up to a combined 3 classes per course instead of 4 classes per course. An hour is more than enough time to go over a day’s lesson, and having 3 classes per course a week fixes the issue with productivity. Students will have the rest of the day to go over what they’ve been taught and do their school assignments. Henceforth, time is extremely manageable. In addition to not overwhelming students, the new bell schedule also allows teachers more time to organize the course of their classes and open up the possibility for tutoring (this part is merely a suggestion). For instance, teacher’s will have a larger amount of time to prepare for the weeks ahead, and might gain extra time they may use to set up tutoring. This benefits the students who are too shy to disrupt class when they have a question or comment. It also benefits the students who may need a little more help in grasping the content of the course. The remainder of time student’s have during the day can be dispersed into many other categories that aren't purely internet based. All within the confounds of social distancing, it allows for more time outside, time for passions, and time for themselves as well as building connections. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read my petition, and if you agree that our school’s current model of virtual learning needs to be re-worked, please sign and share this petition!