The entire student body files into the auditorium. Today’s seminar is going to be used for the announcement of the Homecoming Court, as well as a non-essential presentation regarding caps and gowns. They sit there attempting to pay attention but where their attention really is focused is on that test in Chemistry to make-up or that session of gymnastics that needs to be made up.
Though six seminar dates have been confirmed, only two have been left uninterrupted, leaving the entire first quarter mostly void of study, test and help time that for the last three years has always been there.
Due to the district’s decision to streamline the five Shawnee Mission high schools’ schedules, East’s twice-a-week seminar from last year fell victim to a cut, leading to a new policy of only one seminar per week. But due to the SHARE Fair, Dr. Krawtz’s speeches, an early release and a pep assembly, they might as well not have scheduled any.
This situation not only impedes on students’ ability to get ahead on homework, but more importantly, on students’ ability to get that crucial one-on-one time with a teacher, make up a test, or complete that lab they missed. The option to stay after school is available for some students, but for the majority of the student body, it’s not.
What about the student who plays a sport after school, or fills his afternoons at work? Sure, they could come in before school to take a test, but what if that test, like most, takes an hour to take? Most teachers don’t get into the building until seven, which wouldn’t permit the student enough time to finish.
International Baccalaureate is suffering as well. With only one seminar a week, their Theory of Knowledge program will be well short of their needed 100 hours of class. Without reaching that minimum, the students will not be eligible to receive their I.B. diplomas. Currently they are brainstorming ideas on how to assemble to earn the extra hours they’ll need.
Teachers are feeling the effects as well. With one less seminar, they are strapped to make up for that grading and planning time, and have had to dip into hours they never had to before.
The school doesn’t have the ability to go against the district’s orders, but they do have the ability to let the one seminar we do have stay untouched. Before this schedule took effect, the administration talked of moving those assemblies which would ordinarily be during seminars to days that already had a modified schedule.
A seven-period day is suited perfectly for this scenario. Cut classes by six to eight minutes, which would be almost unnoticeable, and a pep assembly would be able to perfectly squeeze in to the end of the day. The administration truthfully has no proof that this would fail. It’s only what they did for the 50 years before block scheduling came into effect.
Not doing this is neglecting a problem that will only intensify as more students are affected by it.