Jackson-Reed will return to eight-block schedule next year

Kavita O’Malley

Earlier this month, Interim Principal Gregory Bargeman announced the new school schedule for school year 2022-23. Jackson-Reed will return to the full year course schedule, with eight periods rotating on an A/B cycle and some semester based classes for credit recovery. 

This schedule follows DCPS guidelines announced to the Jackson-Reed community on February 16. The city guidelines allow for some individual school autonomy but require that all schools provide space for full-year AP courses and semester options for all core classes to allow for credit recovery. In addition, according to ELA teacher Marc Minsker, any proposed schedule would “need a DCPS stamp of approval.” 

Throughout the process of deciding on a schedule, community members were committed to pursuing an equitable schedule. On February 1 and 2, 16 teachers met to brainstorm ways to improve the Jackson-Reed schedule.

         Collecting information from those two meetings, Minsker and four of the teachers presented their ideas to Bargeman in a meeting on March 1 to discuss concerns around equity, particularly with prioritizing only AP classes in the development of the new schedule. Minsker expressed fears that the AP classes were being valued at others’ expense. 

  During the initial planning process, many had believed that next year’s schedule would only have APs in full year slots with all other classes fitting into a semester. This raised concerns that AP students would receive a more well rounded education than those in on-level classes. 

Due to these concerns, Bargeman and the administration were committed to “make as many classes year long as possible.”

Despite the results of the LSAT survey, that overwhelmingly favored changing to the full year schedule, students have reservations about the shift. 

Jackson-Reed has implemented schedule changes every school year since 2019.  “We’ve gone from full-year [classes], to online four-by-four where we don’t have school on Wednesdays, to in-school four-by-four,” said junior Kate Bukowski, who is apprehensive about switching the schedule yet again. 

Bukowski believes the switch may be academically helpful, but is concerned that “not enough support is being provided” for the mental ramifications of the shifts and emphasized that getting accustomed to a new schedule so often is disorienting for students and teachers. 

“For a lot of [teachers], this is going to be rebuilding their curriculum for the umpteenth time,” said English teacher Allison Conroy. 

Next year will be Conroy’s fourth year at Jackson-Reed and she will have had to rework her teaching plan every year to adapt to the different schedules.

Another drawback is concerns that current underclassmen, who haven’t had to take more than four classes per semester during their time at Jackson-Reed, might be overwhelmed going into a year where they have to balance eight classes at once. 

Sophomore Judi Abdelaal says that though she had experience with taking eight classes at once in middle school, she is concerned that the courseload would be too overwhelming. 

Regardless of concerns, next year’s switch to a full year schedule plans to address worries about learning loss and less planning time for teachers. 

Course selection for next year will begin in late March. •