Academic Council Changes Saturday Class Starting Time

The Academic Council voted to begin Saturday classes at 8:30 a.m., a half hour later than the starting time two weeks ago. The new time was chosen because it allows “time for games as well as sleeping in,” Dean of Studies Vincent Avery said. Though Saturday classes have started at 8:50 a.m. in years past, he said, “8:50 a.m. was the old schedule and no class begins at 8:50 a.m. anymore.” The change comes after a faculty review of weekend classes last spring. Dr. Avery said, “When we discussed the various formats of Saturday classes there were three-class and two-class possibilities. The three-class model started at 8:00 a.m., to accommodate athletic teams that have to travel.” Though that model was not approved, the 8:00 a.m. start time remained in place and the committee didn’t really think about it over the summer, Dr. Avery said. The administration began discussion over Saturday classes last year in response to the Pace of Life Committee’s initial report. After discussion, Head of School Barbara Landis Chase declared that Saturday classes would stand for the foreseeable future. Mrs. Chase reasoned that ending Saturday classes would “move [Andover] closer to the model of a five-day boarding school and away from [its] identity as a seven-day-a-week program from across the country and around the world.” Last spring, after Mrs. Chase’s decision to preserve Saturday classes, Chair of the Pace of Life Committee Max Alovisetti explained her choice, “Mrs. Chase’s fear, as I understand it, is that eliminating these classes may set us on a path of becoming or being seen as a five-day-a-week boarding school. The potential unintended consequences of eliminating these classes far outweigh any benefits.”