What’s next for Bell Schedules? You decide.
It’s getting harder for BHS students to graduate. But don’t worry.
The Class of 2019 and beyond are now required to have 24 credits to graduate high school, so the margin of error is gone for all students who do not want to take online credit recovery courses during their time at BHS. This decision was handed down by State Congress in 2014. Twenty-four credits is equivalent to taking and passing six classes a year, freshman year to senior year, but some of these credits can be waived if there are “special circumstances.” To help improve student flexibility in choosing their own class load, the BHS administration has questions, and they are looking for answers from students like you.
Back in the 2013-14 school year, when Jake Haley took the reigns of BHS for a year, the idea surfaced. “Let’s have more classes to give our students more choices in the classes that they take,” said someone in a meeting. “This would give the students more choice, and would improve the popularity of arts and CTE courses.” Thus, a seven-period day was on the table.
Sadly, the table was made of sticks and tape, because a study by the district estimated the cost of instituting a seven-period day at BHS to be approximately $1.5 million, well out of BISD’s limited budget. This cost is due to the salaries of extra teachers that the school would hire with this schedule, and the supplies that the extra classes would need to operate.
Other than an extra period, the administration has been mulling over other options.
“We would like a schedule where both students and teachers alike can be happy.” Said Assistant Principal, Kristen Haizlip, who creates the master schedule each year. “Some students don’t work well with our current block schedule, 110 minutes is a really long block.”
However, Mrs. Haizlip emphatically agreed that a 1-6 day is not the answer. She also added that teachers’ opinions about the schedule depend on what they teach.
“If you’re a foreign language teacher, you like to have your students interact with the language everyday, but if you’re a science teacher, you need the block period for labs.” Mrs. Haizlip continued. Other than input from faculty and student leadership, the administration has looked at how other high schools have scheduled classes, to give them an idea of what works and what doesn’t.
One oddball schedule from a high school in our area is from Interlake High School in Bellevue, where Mr. Johnson graduated. Interlake has seven classes, and odd number, yet they have a block schedule. On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays, the schedule is periods 1-7. On Wednesdays they have periods 2, 4, and 6, like us, but there is an early-release at 1:20. On Thursdays, Interlake has periods 1, 3, 5, and 7, without an early-release. Yet, because of the budgeting issues of the seven period schedule, this is not a good option for us.
Some schools, like Puyallup High School, have an advisory period once a week, but Haizlip said that the new advisory periods that are used for emergency preparedness are going to stay that way, and they don’t see their role expanding in the future.
As Mrs. Haizlip and others have said, there are so many options for schedules, Thus, the administration needs your input. The new Dean of Students, Mrs. Amanda Ward, who you may remember from AMW and Government classes in years past, will be circulating an online survey to gauge what our students enjoy in a schedule. Depending on you and your classmates input, the schedule may look different down the road.