Student objection to VAHS 2020 Q1/Q2 split

Student objection to VAHS 2020 Q1/Q2 split

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VAHS Students 2020 started this petition to Pam Hammen

As current students at VAHS, we are strongly opposed to the Q1/Q2 split schedule plan. We are in alliance with the parents who have signed David Beardsley’s petition, which is quoted below. We want to make it very clear that we don’t believe the Q1/Q2 split plan will be effective and that we think it will impede our learning overall. On top of the stressors that we already must deal with due to the necessity of online learning, the faster pace and long breaks between content that come with the Q1/Q2 schedule will cause us further anxiety and hinder our ability to reach our full potential. Please consider what is best for us, your students, while also balancing safety in the classroom. This plan is not an acceptable solution.

Simple definition of the Q1/Q2 split plan:

Q1 would be day 1 classes only, but covering a whole semester of content for those classes. Then Q2 would be the same but for your day 2 schedule, and Q3&Q4 would repeat the same process if online learning must continue that far into the year.


“We are strongly opposed to the Q1/Q2 split schedule proposal being considered for the following reasons:


Students will struggle with the accelerated rate of a condensed curriculum. Students struggling with content will have less time to grasp it before moving on to harder material, and the one-day turnaround for assignments in this format does not provide students flexibility. Students who fall behind will very quickly find themselves unable to catch up.


Solutions to the lack of student engagement have already been found. We believe the main barrier to the teacher/student connection in the Spring semester was the students’ ability to choose to opt-out based on the grading system that was offered. Requiring attendance, the availability of synchronous learning and a resumption of traditional grading will result in teachers having more of a “pulse” on student learning and engagement, despite class numbers.


The academic rigor of the split schedule could negatively impact students. The Q1/Q2 split proposal may well be easier to manage from the teaching end, but we are concerned about the ramifications on the learning end. What if a student’s heavier classes all fall in the same quarter...how will they keep up? How does the split schedule accommodate AP classes? The Q1/Q2 split clearly seems to put Verona AP students at a disadvantage with students taking the class in a normal schedule format. And the difficulty in passing an AP exam when the class doesn’t begin until Q2 (or has been tabled since Q1) is not to be underestimated.


The split schedule makes transitioning to in-person more difficult. Given that the Board’s stated goal is to transition to in-person learning as soon as conditions allow, how does the split schedule make this transition? If we are hoping to achieve some sense of “normalcy” it seems that offering a school day that mimics as much as possible what students are accustomed to should be paramount. That way, when the transition to in-person does happen, the impact on the students will be as minimal as possible.


Continuity of learning is lost with a Q1/Q2 split. While attempting to lessen the load on teachers by offering a split schedule is admirable, we do not believe it is worth the cost to students. Consider how the issue of equity comes into play when Q1 students have a virtual class and the Q2 students get in-person instruction. The 7-class format is at least closer to a level playing field for everyone. Continuity of learning should take precedent, as the students’ needs are what should be driving decisions. How does the split scenario benefit our students?


Access to the Arts is significantly compromised in a split schedule, when it is needed now more than ever. We worry that the Q1/Q2 split would compromise their development in several areas. Classes like Music, Art and PE progress incrementally, and their benefits are scientifically proven to influence a student’s entire school experience across all subjects. Performance in core classes is improved, as well as mental and emotional health. The Arts need to be available to students consistently, especially during this critical time. This cannot happen under a split-schedule format, with no instruction in these subjects for an entire quarter.


From our perspective, the benefits of the split schedule format apply primarily to teachers, while the drawbacks exclusively fall on the students. While we know you are meeting regularly with teachers, please take the time to listen to the families of the students that this decision will impact. What may be the simpler solution may not be the best solution for our kids. Students deserve continuity of learning, the opportunity to excel at challenging curriculum and access to the Arts for the entire school year.“  Quoted from: https://www.change.org/p/pam-hammen-no-q1-q2-split-schedule-for-vahs

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