FUHSD faculty votes for new bell schedule

Hsinyen Huang, Managing Editor

FUHSD recently released two new schedules that will take effect in the 2018-2019 school year after following recommendations from the FUHSD Community Wellness Task Force, a committee formed by superintendent Polly Bove to address student mental health. From Jan. 19 to Jan. 23, teachers at each school in the district voted between a two-block and four-block option, with each school adopting the schedule that received the majority of the faculty’s votes. Lynbrook and Monta Vista will be using the two block schedule, while Homestead, Fremont and Cupertino will be using the four-block option.

Notable changes have been made to the schedule to suit the lifestyle and needs of both students and teachers. Under the new schedule, schools will start later than 8:00 a.m. every day to follow the advice of major medical groups, such as the American Association of Pediatrics, who recommend school starting later to improve student alertness and performance. Consequently, school end times will be pushed back, impacting the schedule of school sports games. The passing periods between consecutive block periods will also be extended from five to ten minutes to allow students a short break before resuming class. Students will receive a third tutorial period, and a committee has been formed to discuss possible plans and workshops for students to attend during the extra tutorial. For teachers and administration, collaboration periods in the morning have been split into two shorter sessions.

“Hopefully, students sleep more, because whether or not a student is an at risk kid or a kid who wants to get into top schools, there’s these drives to not sleep,” said teacher Patrick Kitson. “Those are the concerns and that’s why we would do this as a district.”

Since there will only be two different schedules across FUHSD, students planning on taking  Career Technical Education (CTE) classes on other campuses will have an easier time traveling to class. This marks an improvement from current conditions, where every school has its own schedule, making district wide staff meetings inconvenient to organize.

“The district is trying to find ways for students who want to take a CTE class like biotechnology, which is something some Lynbrook students are taking,” said principal Maria Jackson. “If schools have less variation in schedules, it allows for easier transport to go from one school to another, it gives students the opportunity to take those classes.”

While the deferred start time may be a welcome change for sleep deprived students, student athletes will miss out on valuable class time for games. To address this issue, the Wellness Task Force has recommended that the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League schedule games no earlier than 4 p.m. to accommodate for athletes with later class end times.

“I think that the new schedule will be okay overall, because the day is relatively the same, just pushed back,” said junior volleyball and basketball player Kavitha Thirumaran. “The downside is that sports and other after school activities will have to start later, which could mean going to bed later for some as well.”

Prior to the vote, parent and student surveys were sent out in order to gauge the opinions of the community regarding implementing a new schedule; response rates, however, were low. The schedules were created by the district office, who sent the two choices to each of the five schools, where faculty members held multiple meetings to suggest potential improvements to the schedules before they were finalized.

With numerous changes to adapt to, the new schedule will affect students and teachers alike, hopefully bringing about positive change.