LSAT survey finds 4×4 schedule unpopular

Kavita O’Malley

In a survey conducted in early December, 70 percent of the Wilson community voted against the 4×4 schedule.

The Wilson High School Local School Advisory Team (LSAT) introduced a survey about the semester block schedule, also known as the 4×4 that was implemented last school year due to virtual learning. 

Despite the overwhelming preference to remove the 4×4 schedule, the process to change it is still ongoing. In order for Wilson’s schedule to change, DCPS has to grant schools the autonomy to assign their own schedule. 

Currently, a group of teachers at Wilson are discussing plans to improve the schedule for next year. However, ELA teacher Marc Minsker says that “it is unclear if anything will come of that group in terms of a proposal to the admin.” Regardless, the group plans to meet at some point over the next week to discuss the future of the schedule. 

The survey, which closed on December 20, received over 450 responses, the majority of which came from parents. Among the concerns raised through the survey were learning loss, low AP performance, increased teacher burnout, and increased consequences for missed class time, both for students and teachers. The survey concluded that 70 percent of people preferred a full year schedule as opposed to the 28 percent who voted for the 4×4. 

The LSAT included the survey results in a letter to DCPS Chancellor Lewis Ferebee and Instructional Superintendent Kimberly Martin, asking them to consider the results in the decision process for next year’s scheduling. But according to Interim Principal Bargeman, “the ultimate decision is based on the teachers voting on what schedule they want next year.”

The Washington Teachers Union (WTU) contract states that if 66 percent of members vote against or for a given schedule, they can present that information to the chancellor to propose the change. However, an anonymous member of the WTU states that, in truth, their votes are not always actually taken into account and previous votes have been rejected.

Though the survey was intended to grasp student feelings, the responses didn’t include a large portion of the student population’s opinions. 

Junior Sophia Tatton revealed that she hadn’t known about the survey, but she did agree with the survey results. She added, “I think it’s really difficult especially for taking AP exams, having a whole semester between taking an AP class first semester and then the exam in May. It adds a lot of pressure on students to self-study without their teachers.” 

Teachers, for the most part, also seem to agree with the survey results. Spanish teacher Sra. Vazquez had major concerns about the timing constraints.

“I need to crunch in five months what I normally cover in a full school year, but it’s not even really five months once we start thinking about the amount of interruptions that we have. It’s really closer to four and a half months.” She continued that, “for any language class, it doesn’t make any sense to be on a 4×4 schedule.” 

According to Assistant Principal Camille Robinson, as of January 11, DCPS had not made a decision regarding the 4×4. However, she estimates that a decision will likely be made by early March at the latest. •