Eight period schedule unlikely to change

Chloe Fatsis

Wilson is pushing for a switch to a seven-period day. DCPS is unlikely to approve the change, but they have not made an official decision.

The Wilson Teachers’ Union and Local School Advisory Team (LSAT) have both advocated for reverting to the seven-period schedule, which Wilson had up until the 2016-17 school year. Teachers cite a decreased workload for teachers and students as the main reason to remove a class period.

Change is highly unlikely, according to LSAT parent representative Sam Frumkin. “We have never received any indication from DCPS administration, either in conversations or emails, that DCPS would be receptive to allowing Wilson to move to a seven-period day,” Frumkin said. 

At a recent meeting with DCPS, after asking if the school should plan for a seven-period schedule next year, Wilson administrators were told that it was “off the table,” according to Principal Kimberly Martin. “A decision has not been made,” DCPS Deputy Press Secretary Ashlynn Profit said.

Last spring, the teachers’ union held a vote on a petition to switch to a seven-period day. It passed, with 73 percent in favor of the change. “On our side we’re ready. The school is ready,” PE and health teacher Rebecca Bradshaw-Smith said. “The only problem is we’re now fighting downtown.”

One of the arguments that DCPS gave when presenting the eight-period day was that the extra class would decrease the number of students in each class. “That has not happened,” Bradshaw-Smith said. Although the maximum number of students in classes is supposed to be 25, according to the teachers’ union contract, many have exceeded 30. “That extra class does not help us out a lot. It gives us more more students if anything, also more work,” Bradshaw-Smith said. 

Similarly, the school believes that removing the eighth period would lessen the amount of work students have. “The extra class [creates] extra homework for students,” Martin said. “One more class to prepare for, one more thing to do.”

Martin brought up another grievance with the eight-period schedule: Students who have completed all of their credit requirements already often have gaps in their schedules. “Students have 32 opportunities to get 24 credits,” she said. “If you don’t have a high failure rate then you can finish your credits essentially in three years.”

In the 2018-19 school year, DCPS informed Wilson that they were not planning on changing the schedule. When Martin asked about it this year, she “did not receive a positive response,” according to Frumkin.