An official revote on the 4×5 schedule has been scheduled by Head of School John Palfrey in response to the discouraging results of the recent advisory vote. According to an email from Palfrey to the faculty, 61 percent (123 votes) of the faculty voted against the 4×5, while 36 percent (72 votes) approved, and 3 percent (6 votes) abstained. This is a drastic shift from the 119 votes for and 89 votes against the 4×5 cast during the original vote last January.
If the faculty votes against the January 2016 binding decision, the 2017-2018 school year will not adopt a new schedule. In this case, a revised schedule will be implemented in either fall 2018 or fall 2019.
Palfrey wrote in an email to the faculty on Wednesday, “I will issue a new ballot for a formal reconsideration of the binding vote of January 2016 in favor of implementing the 4×5 this coming fall. Made available shortly and coming to you under separate cover, this new ballot will be available for 48 hours beginning this evening and running through Friday evening.”
The ballot is projected to have two options: a “yes” vote on the 4×5 or a “no” vote. A majority of “yes” votes would mean that Andover would carry on as planned with the 4×5 at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year. A majority of “no” votes would lead to the cancellation of the 4×5 and the end of scheduling talks for the winter term.
In place of the 4×5, the school would plan a schedule for next year similar to the current one, tweaking the current schedule only in ways that affect Empathy and Balance pilots. Palfrey further described that the school will “resume scheduling work under a new committee this spring.”
By way of the advisory vote, faculty and staff also shared their concerns with and suggestions for the 4×5 schedule implementation. According to the email from Palfrey, many expressed “the desire for improvements” to the schedule, but opposed specific changes that the 4×5 schedule was anticipated to bring in the 2017 year.
“To quote one colleague (whose name I do not know): ‘This is a difficult vote for me, because I want to express my strong support for a change of schedule, but I do not think the 4×5 is the right change to make. My understanding is that a ‘no’ vote can still be a vote for a change of schedule (even, perhaps, as soon as next year).’ Many comments echoed a version of this sentiment,” Palfrey said.
“I asked the faculty to advise me on their thinking in light of the detailed work that we all have done over the past year to refine the schedule and calendar,” wrote Palfrey in an email to The Phillipian. “Regardless of the outcome of the reconsideration ballot, we will keep working to come up with the best schedule and calendar for Andover and its students, consistent with the direction of our strategic plan.”