Graphic by Rigby Zetner
DCPS high school students will continue to follow a 4×4 schedule in the upcoming school year.
However, Wednesdays will no longer be asynchronous.
DCPS mandated the continuation of the 4×4 schedule because they are still uncertain about the circumstances in which in-person instruction will take place next school year. Despite the unpredictability, Martin is confident that Wilson students will return to the building.
“All indications are that we’re going back to [school] in-person. I’m planning [to] go back to in-person instruction,” Martin said.
The original proposal for the 2021-2022 school year involved an additional block schedule for semester courses.
“The suggestion from central office is that we also do a 4×4 schedule with a rotating AB schedule and mix them together to do a hybrid,” Martin said. Wilson’s previous eight-period block schedule is not being considered by DCPS for next year.
Despite DCPS’s persistence, high school principals were able to argue against the schedule proposal.
“I think the smartest choice is to have the students take the fewest amount of classes possible,” Martin said.
With the implementation of a 4×4 schedule, students take will take full-credit classes for a semester, rather than for the entire school year. Students signed up to take eight courses will take four per semester.
Some students think that having less course material at one time is easier to manage. “I believe that this 4×4 schedule is good for an online or a hybrid form of school, because it gives students a chance to focus and give their full attention to those classes,” sophomore Paulina Rodriguez said.
Freshman Finn Fischer said he even prefers the 4×4 schedule,“the work is more manageable and I can work at my own pace.”
Likewise, Junior Zakai Robinson thinks, “I think it’s really good because students already have so much stress with [COVID-19] so it’s easier to manage everything with this schedule.”
The 4×4 schedule was new to students and staff this year, yet many find that it is the best way to navigate distance learning.
“This was the first time doing a 4×4 for me, and I’ve really liked it. I found having less students has allowed me to focus more on their individual needs. I was also able to keep caught up with grades,” science teacher Lauren Trujilio said.
Similarly, science teacher Zachary Meyers thinks that because he has fewer students with the 4×4 schedule, he is able to give them one-on-one feedback. Although the schedule requires creating different plans for new classes everyday, instead of every other day, the subject departments have found that strong collaboration has aliveates that stress.
Trujillo says that one area she could see students possibly struggling in is one-semester-long AP classes. Students who take AP classes in the first semester experience a gap in between finishing the course and the required AP exam in May.
DCPS noted this issue when receiving complaints from students taking AP courses during this school year. They assure students that refresher courses offered at the end of the year will prepare them fully for the exam.
Junior Mattias Rolette agrees that taking an AP class either semester is harder with a 4×4 schedule. “If you have [an AP class] first semester then you don’t have the class for three or four months leading up to the exam and if you are taking it second semester [the course] is super accelerated and it’s really hard to keep up,” he said.
Junior Vanessa Ramon-Ibarra says that while the busy schedule of the 4×4 can help prepare for college, she finds it much more difficult to handle the heavy workload from honors and AP classes when she has each class every day.
Although the 4×4 is not Martin’s favorite schedule, she said, “We don’t need any more changes. We need to just stick with what we have, and improve on it for the next school year.”