LSAT votes in favor of a seven period schedule; change is unlikely

Hannah Bocian and Joanna Chait

The Wilson Local School Advisory Team (LSAT) has proposed to switch to a seven period school day, most recently used prior to the 2015-16 school year. The vote, which was held on April 9, overcame the two-thirds threshold needed to pass the petition with a overwhelming 73 percent in favor.

After being signed off by Principal Kimberly Martin, an exception form will be sent to the Secondary Academic Scheduling Support Team (SASS), a part of DCPS Central Office. If approved by DCPS, the exception form would exempt Wilson from DCPS’ requirement to have a eight period schedule.

Martin believes that change will “100 percent” be rejected by DCPS. 

Even if DCPS approves the change, it is unlikely that the new schedule will be enacted by the 2019-20 school year, though it could occur the following year. “We are well past the deadline [to make the change], because we are in process of doing scheduling already,” explained Martin. A change to seven periods would upend the scheduling process, requiring students to take a class off the classes they chose in February.

The new schedule would feature three 90-minute classes each day, along with one 45-minute period, referred to as the “skinny” period. The other six 90-minute classes will alternate odd and even Tuesday–Thursday. Similar to the current schedule, students would have all their classes on Monday.

“It cuts down the number of students a teacher would have in his or her class.” explains Social Studies teacher Patrick Cassidy saying that the new schedule eases the load off teachers by giving them fewer students.

Only having seven classes is a disadvantage for students because it limits the amount of courses one can take. This makes it harder to complete all the requirements and allows students to explore other areas they may not otherwise.

LSAT Chair Sam Frumkin strongly supports a switch back to the seven period schedule. “The move to an eight-period day a few years ago really put an increased workload on teachers which to many people is beyond reasonable request,” LSAT Chair Sam Frumkin explained.

Other members of the LSAT are more conflicted. “We had a lot of discussions,” added Frumkin. “People are very torn.”

While most teachers support the change, some believe that the current schedule allows teachers to have more students in high-demand classes such as Biomedical Science and Mass Media and Communications as well as explore on-level classes they may be interested in.