Fix Richland School District 1's Scheduling Change

Fix Richland School District 1's Scheduling Change

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Richland One Student started this petition to Richland One School District and

On September 3rd, 2020, after three days of instruction for the 2020-2021 school year, Richland One County released a statement through school changing the virtual schedule. Previously, Wednesday's were reserved for meetings and tutoring without instruction, allowing ample time for students to complete a heavier amount of assignments (an increased amount of homework is an unfortunate but inevitable effect of hour-long classes). Wednesday classes were provided initially to combat the buildup of work for students that a five day full instruction schedule receives (a crisis that was strongly critiqued by Richland One families at the end of the 2019-2020 school year). 

Despite the necessity of the Wednesday work day to complete necessary assignments, Richland One made the executive decision, half of a week into the school year, to give students less time to complete more work. This serves as a misguided solution to one of the most stressful and mentally taxing academic challenge many students have ever had to face. Much more is being required from teachers by this district due to the new schedule. Given little to no time to prepare for another hour of instruction for an indefinite amount of time is unacceptable treatment of an already underpaid and overworked group who are solely responsible for shaping the future.

Taking away time previously meant for meetings, club times, tutoring, and lesson plans will do nothing but hurt the most vulnerable students in our district and overwork our educators even more. This time was also meant to provide counselling services to students, allowing those who are facing mental health issues to do their much needed sessions and IEP meetings with trained district psychologists, speech therapists, and occupational therapists (a change which is most harmful to special needs students). These are critical meetings that are now allotted for 8-8:45. Due to the new strict five-day virtual instructional schedule, there is no time for students to get the help they need, academically or emotionally. Additionally, mandating full instruction on Wednesdays takes most of the available time for extracurricular activities. As our current situation is incredibly stressful, allowing time for students to enjoy productive enrichment outside of the classroom with other students is vital to their academic success. Activities such as theater, dance, orchestra, debate teams, robotics, etc, who do not have the same access to school facilities as athletics departments, will be most afflicted by this change.

Dreher High School administration has quickly responded to Richland One families who have already expressed concerns over the schedule change. Their message was hopeful with a promise of attempted compromise in exchange for community patience. However, there is only so much school administration can do without leniency from the district. A compromise different from the previous plan and the new virtual schedule needs to be made.

Students recognize the burden administration and Richland One's leadership is facing with this crisis, and there is no way to know when things will return to normal. However, high school students will not be successful and show up to class at our normally high attendance rates if we are not given ample time to do our work properly. Students of Richland One ask, in signing this petition, for the District to postpone or outright cancel their reversal of the schedule in order to not only lessen confusion, but ease the burden that the brand new virtual schedule is putting on students and teachers. 

Respectfully,

Richland One Students and Families

 

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