Andover Implements New Scheduling Task Force

The new scheduling task force, led by Marcelle Doheny, Instructor in History and Social Science, has been meeting since last spring to form ideas for a new potential schedule. Following the rejection of the 4×5 schedule last year, with just 35 percent of faculty voters approving the schedule change, the task force hopes to implement a new schedule by the 2019-2020 academic year.

According to Doheny, factors such as sleep, homework, and the pace of daily life are considered when the task force comes up with ideas for a schedule.

“Our task is to work with the faculty to build consensus around a potential new schedule. This could involve some changes in the way we organize the calendar, but might not. The charge for the task force and the faculty is to be able to vote on a new schedule by the end of the spring term this school year. Plans would not go into effect until the 2019-2020 school year, however, thus giving us another year in which to fully work with any changes,” wrote Doheny in an email to The Phillipian.

So far this term, the task force has met weekly and has hosted a couple of full-faculty meetings. According to Doheny, they are in a “gathering of ideas” phase at the moment.

“The impetus for change, as returning students know, began a couple of years ago and falls under the broader umbrella of strategic planning initiatives. Students and faculty had conversations around the strengths and weaknesses in our schedule and about the impact these have on our lives here,” wrote Doheny.

Many students mention high stress levels and poor sleep habits during the week, causing the task force to contemplate the pros and cons of the current schedule.

“This conversation is very complicated because we have a lot of moving pieces in a day, a week, and a term — hence the need to slowly gather ideas, then talk extensively about them prior to making any decisions,” Doheny wrote.

Some students have expressed their wishes for small changes in the current schedule.

Saniya Singh ’18 said, “I think that having all five classes on Friday is more stressful because then you have one night where you have to do homework for all of your classes.”

Singh continued, “So, ideally, I think the current is honestly working fine, but if we had to change something, I would switch Monday and Friday. That way, you would have the weekend to do all of your classwork and have one day with all of your classes on Monday.”

Hosshini Suraj ’19 said, “I like the schedule right now because I personally can’t sit in a class for longer than forty-five minutes. I like shorter class periods where we’re more engaged during the class. I also like double periods once a week, just so that we’re able to do longer times, especially in a science class when you have a lab or in an English class where you’re continuing a discussion about a particular book… My only thing is lunch is pretty late on Wednesdays, and if I don’t get breakfast, I get pretty hungry.”

Some students, on the other hand, are fine with the current schedule, and feel that there is no need for change.

“Honestly, I’m totally happy with the way the schedule is now. I like how it kind of breaks each day down, like here’s my Monday, here’s my Tuesday, and then how in the middle of the week it slows down on Wednesday and Thursday. Then, on Friday, you finish with a bang. I think it’s perfect. I don’t think they should change it at all,” said Henry Crater ’20 in an interview with The Phillipian.

Emma Tilghman ’20 agreed with Crater, saying, “I kind of like [the current schedule]. I like having the double periods because it means that teachers can cover more material, but it does depend on the classes.”

Looking toward the future, the task force will work hard to piece together a schedule that will benefit students’ health while also supporting a rigorous curriculum.

Doheny said, “We all learned a great deal from the conversations over the past two years and are all invested in building a consensus. Part of that will, of course, involve student input. We can certainly anticipate many spirited discussions this year.”

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