Good news for your Monday mornings coming after break

Conference schedule changes for upcoming semester

Sofia Gerhart, Editorials Reporter

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We need to make sure that conference period is valued by all”

— Carolyn Jones

You’ve seen the flyers and received letters at home. Big changes are coming to THMS’s schedule after winter break.

Starting in January, 2nd period will start at 8:45 in the morning, and 6th will release around 2:45 in the afternoon, creating a new morning window for students to access their teachers for conference. Because bus schedules are complicated and expensive to change, school bus routes and times will remain the same, meaning that if you ride the bus, you will still be getting to school at the same time Monday mornings.

You might remember that conference period was changed at the beginning of this year from last year’s format. What you might not know is that this was to give teachers more time in “Professional Development”, a period of time when teachers are mandated to conference together about ways to improve classesa meeting many teachers feel unnecessary.

This caused conference to be consolidated into a once weekly, hour and a half long block, Mondays after school.

This move to Mondays leaves Wednesday afternoons open for students, which has sparked “issues with Fourth Ave. businesses,” according to Carolyn Jones, assistant Vice Principal of Curriculum and Instruction at THMS.

She can’t give any specific examples, but you can probably guess what some of these “issues” might be.

So, to answer these complaints, we will start school later, rather than get out earlier on Mondays, and will again have conference after school on Wednesdays.

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This change coming our way after break is a fix to a problem created at the beginning of the year.

Jones sees this as a positive, saying that it will give students the opportunity to go to more than one teacher during conference, and might get students who can’t normally to go to conference on Mondays to go on Wednesday or before school, adding that because conference will be split into smaller chunks, it might seem more manageable to a student who  does not want to spend an additional hour and a half in class after the final bell.

Jones does worry that conference will continue to go unused, and feels that serious changes should be made to increase turnout. “Otherwise, how do we justify it in our schedule?” she, along with the rest of Administration, wonders.

Plans are already underway to change our schedule for the 2017-2018 school year, and will be determined by a schedule committee, that for the first time will include student representatives.

“We need to make sure that conference period is valued by all,” says Jones.

Jones was not part of the group of administrators that made the decision on how to change the schedule for next semester, but says the movement was headed by Principal Shawna Rodriguez, who unfortunately, could not be reached for comment.

Jones does agree that the school “need[s] to take a look and get some input” when it comes to forming a school schedule that will stick.

Changing conference to one day a week was a decision made to benefit teachers and Administration.

Student life was not taken into consideration, and in a kind of Karmic circle, Admin’s self serving policy came back around to bite them. Luckily for students and staff, Administration seems to have learned their lesson.

According to Jones, the new bell schedule, effective August, 2017, will be determined by a board made up of Administrators, student representatives, and teachers, giving everyone affected by the schedule a voice in it’s creation.

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This new temporary schedule coming in January better accommodates the student schedule, giving us the option to get extra rest, or extra help on Monday mornings, and a second chance to get in for conference Wednesday afternoons.

Overall this is a huge gain for the student body, a move in the right direction, towards students having more of a voice in the school politics that directly affect them.

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Good news for your Monday mornings coming after break