Student opinions influence Carlmont’s future bell schedule


Nikhil Vyas

During flex time, some students work on their assignments for other classes, while other students play on their phones.

A new schedule, featuring significant changes from the previous one, faces student evaluation as the first semester comes to an end. The new schedule modifies the school’s routine on Wednesdays and Thursdays with block periods, flex time, and a shorter lunch break.

The new schedule originated from an action plan last year to analyze the previous bell schedule, according to Principal Ralph Crame. Also, Crame explained that there needed to be more contact between students and teachers. Therefore the bell schedule committee examined many options and decided on two schedules for Carlmont to pilot this school year.

“When we take time and give it to flex, we have to take it from somewhere. Some of that time was less passing period because you have fewer classes, but the other time we had to eat into was lunch,” Crame said.

A shorter lunch is one of the significant changes to the schedule, yet its purpose is to supply time for 30 minute flex periods. Students sign up for a flex location each week where they can get extra help, makeup work, or get a head start on homework. The days with flex also have block scheduling, which means that students attend fewer classes than usual, but each class is 85 minutes long instead of the regular 50 minute class periods.

Dan Nguyen, a math teacher at Carlmont, says that he prefers 50 minute classes every school day because it allows students to practice new concepts each night.

“When we have two tough lessons in one block day, the students haven’t mastered what they need to master for the second half. They haven’t had time to interact with the material for the second half of the lesson,” Nguyen said.

While teachers like Nguyen adapt their lesson plans to match the block schedule, students also have to learn to adjust to the new schedule.

“People can’t really focus well. It’s like when you study for too long and start to lose focus and it becomes a waste of your time,” said Grace Zheng, a freshman.

Students share a variety of opinions about the block schedule, including the newly introduced flex periods.

“I really like it because I can do homework and it’s especially helpful when you have a lot going on in other classes or sports,” said Alison Owyang, a junior.

However, according to another junior, Calvin Hunter, the flex periods may not be as useful to others because they may be too short to do anything productive. And teachers like Bertalicia Godina, a Spanish teacher at Carlmont, find it challenging to give a full test in a single flex period because they are only 30 minutes long.

“What I have to do is separate the test and give them one portion. Students do the second portion on another day, which is problematic because we don’t have enough time,” Godina said.

As a result of the additional period, flex, the lunch break became 12 minutes shorter. According to sophomore Tsubasa Yasukawa, the shorter lunch does not provide enough time to finish eating lunch and for students to get to their next class on time.

During the second semester, Carlmont will pilot a different schedule that features a 50 minute flex, brunch break, and earlier start time on Wednesdays.

“I think it would be beneficial to pilot more schedules. The school doesn’t have to test them for a whole semester. The school could do it for a quarter because I think that is long enough to realize if you like it,” said Sohie Pal, a sophomore.

Before Carlmont decides what action to take next, students can voice their opinions through a flex survey that Vice Principal Jennifer Cho emailed to each student. According to Crame, the administration will continue to email surveys to students and teachers throughout the remainder of this semester.

“When it’s time for the school to make a decision, I think the most important thing that they need to consider is what’s best for the students,” Nguyen said.

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