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Seven class periods a day: Yay or Nay?

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." -Barack Obama

BY DESTINYE RODRIGUEZ

PAGE 6 * PAWPRINTS

BACKPAGE

TUESDAY, JANUARY, 20, 2008

An alternative schedule, a seven period day, is being proposed to students and faculty. "The current schooling system is based on the older Prussian school system which trained children to work in factories. I didn't think this system should still be in use today. While it may have served its purpose at the time, it is now outdated and in need of improvement," said Kodiak Dschida, junior who is heading the campaign. This topic has been controversial since the petition was introduced a week ago. "While attempts have been made in the past to alter our current schedule, they have all failed. They have also, every one of them been introduced by teachers. The need for a more modern approach to the schedule, combined with the fact that all teacher-proposed altercations have failed, fostered in me the need to petition for a newer, and quite possibly better day," Dschida added. "It will add much to our workload. I kind of want to relax my senior year. I was planning on a five period for next year,"

worried Tanner McCutchan, Junior. There are many aspects of this schedule that are unknown. "Things like the length of the school day, the credit system, the amount of time we'll have for breaks, and in between classes, possible difficulties regarding the proposed study hall period, and other concerns have been brought to my attention. I understand that these fears are well grounded and I can assure you of the following: 1. The length of the school day will remain unchanged, 2. The length of time we're given between classes and during breaks will not change. 3. The credit system will have to change; however, the change will not make a difference so long as the required number of credits are earned. 4. Seniors next year with [plans for] a five period day ... will not have much of a time difference between what a five period day is now and what a six period day will be

then. 5. If students do not apply themselves during the proposed study hall period, they will receive a "fail" and lose the credits which could be the difference between graduating and another semester of school," explained Dschida. But the hard to convince students are still left with the question of `why would I want more classes? How does this benefit me?' "It just sounds like more work" stated McCutchan. Additionally, Dschida explained, "Under the new schedule, students will be given several new, innovative options! Taking an extra elective such as art, drama, wood, metal, auto, etc. can actually raise your GPA so long as you at least try in the class. You can enroll in a duallanguage program. You can take advantage of the new study hall opportunity. Or a period can be added to the work-studies program (although of this I'm not certain)." Junior Megan Myers believes that "the current schedule is a fair amount of work" and "Senior year is supposed to be fun. We shouldn't be drowning in work." McCutchan also makes the point that "if we have too much schoolwork, we may be less attentive in our jobs and afterschool lives." So these are just a few examples of the broad range of benefits and counterarguments that can come of this new idea. Also, with this new schedule, the extra period can be used as an extra opportunity to fit into a schedule any class one may have failed in the past, making the 7th period an alternative to summer school, or adult education. In defense to all of the questions and concerns regarding the length of the school day, Dschida said "It

really will change little, aside from incrementally shorter period lengths and the addition of an extra elective, study hall, language, or failed class. It means more options for incoming freshman, possibly smaller class sizes, the possibility of a higher GPA, and more options overall." Myers also suggests that "with all the budget cuts, we can't afford to change what we have." This whole ordeal has come along rather quickly but Dschida explained the reason for the hurry. "The time for finalization of the schedule is fast approaching. Within a month, the faculty has to organize a syllabus, begin student sign-ups for classes, and solidify the order of everything for next year. In order for a new schedule to be instituted for next year, we need this petition to be completed as soon as possible," Dschida added. "I can't give you an exact number, because the signatures have not yet been tallied, but I can tell you that one person (not myself or any of the IB students) garnered approximately 50-60 votes in the course of one day. If that doesn't say something about how many students are behind this, I don't know what would." SSR would have to be done away with on top of shortening classes by 3-5 minutes to make this new system work. Dschida encourages anyone who has any questions or misgivings about the petition to find him and talk to him. He also encourages the student body to "support the petition, and support the institution of a better, modern, and more efficient system!"

Kodiak Dschida and Christian Legaspi

Megan Meyers and Tanner McCutchan discuss the petition

Student Petition Counter Argument

To the Students of McKinleyville High School: This is entirely student-generated, student-produced, and student-centered. By choosing to accept this petition, you are choosing to better assist both yourself and your peers in your search for knowledge and higher learning. Thank you. The undersigned person's request that, beginning with the 2009-2010 school year, McKinleyville High School will adopt a seven period day. A study hall class will be offered, which will be credit/no-credit (this will in no way inhibit a student's grade point average), for students willing to enroll. Additionally, we would like the administration to consider allowing students with six academic courses to choose a seventh period elective to be graded on the credit/no-credit system. Reasons for request: 1) Students interested in achieving the IB diploma must take a minimum of 6 IB classes during their junior and senior years, allowing no opportunity for electives. Institution of a seven period day would allow IB students to enroll in either study hall or an elective 2) It will allow students wishing to emphasize the career-technical program to take more of said courses, allowing greater expertise and versatility in their field of study. 3) All students will be allowed a greater opportunity to sample the large variety of elective courses offered at MHS. 4) Students not enrolled in the IB program can strengthen and improve their GPA by taking an elective (e.g. a student enrolled in Algebra 2 who earns a C, then takes an extra elective such as foods and earns an A, will have effectively earned a 3.0 GPA between those two classes instead of a 2.0 for Algebra 2 alone). 5) Students interested in a dual-language learning program will be allowed to do just that; since languages are electives, it would be possible for these students to take two different language courses throughout their high school career. 6) Students who have trouble getting homework done at home will be given the opportunity to do homework during study hall. This will raise overall grades and, concurrently, test scores. Lack of effort in study hall will be reflected in their grade. 7) Students required to make up missed classes will be allowed a more thoroughly regulated and allencompassing learning experience than offered through summer school classes. By signing this petition, I am agreeing to support a trial adoption of the seven-period day for a two-year period. Success of said schedule will be reviewed by the faculty during the second year, at which time recommendations will be made for either keeping or revising the schedule. This petition is against the petition for a seven period day. By signing this petition you are choosing to keep the six period day in effect for the 20092010 school year. This is also written by students and for their benefit. The number of classes students have is the right amount for the work load they take on. A seventh class would just create more homework and stress if you were taking a class that is not an elective class. Reasons for this counter petition are: 1.With the budget cuts this school is enduring, there is not enough money to support more elective classes, especially ones that require materials such as wood for Woodshop, clay for Ceramics, supplies for Photography and Art classes, also Drama would not be able to supply props. More classes that are required to be taken would need more supplies and these budget cuts are already making it so the school can't purchase any supplies for this school year so there obviously won't be money next year either. 2.Making up classes after failing should be something you have to make up in summer school as a punishment. Making it up in class where they don't have enough time for everyone to get help is pointless especially since they will be down in credits anyways. 3.Very small amounts of people take dual languages. If they want to, they should drop an elective that is giving them extra homework anyways. If you take two languages, you wont have time for study hall. 4.Without SSR, it will make it harder to calm kids down after lunch. When students get back from lunch, they are all still caught up in the "drama" and SSR allows them quiet time to read and get their minds off of other things so that they are prepared to start class. People won't be reading on their own time at home so SSR helps students practice good reading skills and gives students time to read the required novels assigned for classes. 5.Instead of making a new period for study hall, most teachers are willing to give extra help after school, during SSR, also during lunch. Most teachers who would teach study hall would not be able to speak all of the languages, or know all of the courses that we offer at this school and that would make it senseless to have a study hall for homework if there is no help to be offered. 6.Students enrolled in the IB program chose to take this path and knew what they were taking on when they signed up. Other students at MHS are used to their regular schedules and change would just bring more stress on them. Megan Myers and Tanner McCutchan will have copies of this petition to be signed.

Counteracting the Counterarguments of a 7 Period Day

1)Graduation rate will go down because it is more classes for students to fail. Counter-argument: Realistically the graduation rate will go up because the students that don't have anything that they need to take will end up taking an elective that they are interested in therefore boosting up their GPA and the students that don't have any electives they want to take can take study hall giving them another period of the day to do homework/study. And for the students that do decide to take the hard classes to try to get more credits or graduate early, it is them taking the responsibility into their hands and students like that usually are the students who do their work. 2) If the students want to take an extra period, why not make it an option to stay 40 minutes after school and take an extra class? Counter-argument: The first, probably most obvious reason that taking an extra class after school is not an option, is because the school district cannot afford to pay the whole staff to stay 40 minutes after school for a few kids. They might be able to pay a few staff members but not nearly as many as classes there are to take. Besides that point, taking a class after school would conflict with any after school extracurricular activities like sports. The student would have to choose between the class or the activities. 3)Shorter periods will make it harder to get help. Counter-Argument: This is inaccurate. In fact, the shorter periods will make it easier to get help because the option of taking a study hall will be open so the students will have a whole period to take the time out to get help. 4)Silent reading will be taken away and I usually use that time to do homework. Counter-argument: If it is the

Discussion is a key part to working out both sides of the story

homework time that is needed, then why not take a study hall where you can get more than twice as much time to do your homework and have help at the raise of a hand? 5) Making up classes after failing should be something you have to make up in summer school as a punishment. Counter-argument: Why would students need to be punished when there is an alternative option of taking failed classes without losing half of their summers? On top of that reason, we will not have to put as much money into summer schools when fewer students are attending therefore leaving money we will need for the extra lab fees. 6) "Very small amounts of people take dual languages. If they want to, they should drop and elective that is giving them extra homework anyways. If you take two languages, you won't have time for study hall." Counter-argument: Our first problem with this statement is that they say that a very small amount of students take two foreign languages as a reason to not use this improvised schedule, when really every student matters. For the rest of the statement, why drop an elective that is giving the student more credits when they don't have to. And realistically, most electives don't have homework. Where did you get the fact people won't have time for two languages and study hall? 7) "Students enrolled in the IB program chose to take this path, and knew what they were taking on when they signed up." Counter- argument: I agree that the IB program is hard and the students do choose to take it themselves but when there is a chance to make it easier on them, why would it make sense to say `tough luck" instead of giving them a period where they can relax or take something that they wouldn't be able to take normally? 8) "Instead of making a new period

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