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Growing support district wide for schedule changes

English teacher Toby Barmeyer lectures one of her classes. Photo by Jackson Smith

For the past few months, students have only been able to speculate as to what decision the administration will make concerning next year’s school schedule. As the teacher vote looms near, students ponder what changes are yet to come.

Last year, a vote to change Bear River’s schedule failed by only one vote. Whereas before more schedule options were discussed like keeping the current block and 4×4 (4 classes per semester, with different sets of 4 classes each semester), the current vote would be to enact a 4×8 schedule, which would mean students take 8 classes year round. Other schools in our district, like Nevada Union, have already made the change to 4×8 last year. 

Principal Christopher Roberts explained that the chief reason for the changes is to increase the continuity between the major schools of the district, Bear River and Nevada Union.

“So as of right now, the goal of the district is to have the same bell schedule between the two comprehensive high schools. Last year, Nevada Union adopted the 4×8 schedule,” he said. “They decided to take it on and be a pioneer in terms of master scheduling, hiring new teachers and adding new sections. Paving the way for us to adopt the schedule.”

Roberts also reassured that it is not a radical change.

“Other schools in our area that have the 4×8 schedule include Rocklin High School, Whitney High School, and the new Twelve Bridges High School. It’s not a new schedule, it’s something that has been done before,” said Roberts.

The group of students that had the most to say on the issue are the current junior class, who will be most impacted by the change as they have spent a lot of time with the current schedule and, unlike the seniors, will still be here next year. It seemed the most widely held view was cautious optimism. 

Junior Maddie Mattson liked how it made more room for opportunities, but was concerned that her workload would increase.

“I want more electives, but I don’t want more homework and dislike the change happening for my last year,” she said.

Junior James Haworth was a little bit thoughtful before getting his feet wet. 

“I think it presents a large opportunity, but they have to organize it in a way that avoids some of the pitfalls this schedule has had at other schools,” he said.

Junior Leo Hill initially did not know that the schedule was even changing, or what it meant.

“I have no clue what it is,” Hill said first.

Upon explanation, Hill was enthusiastically opposed to the change, stating “Oh, that’s awful, why?”

Apart from mixed student support, Roberts believed that the change is well liked among teachers and students from Nevada Union, and pointed out some strong benefits.

“According to most of the students and teachers from Nevada Union that I’ve had conversations with, they liked the schedule,” he remembered. “It does take some time to get used to, but I think the reason why Nevada Union needed to get more used to it than we will is because they didn’t have a rotating block schedule prior to the change. Our students are more prepared to take on the new schedule since they are so used to the one we currently have.”

The great educational expansion the schedule offers can’t be overlooked. Roberts explained what that would be like.

“It will allow us to share programs, which is the really cool part. Nevada Union is a bigger school than we are, with more course offerings than we do. We try to keep up with as many course offerings as we can, being a small school but if we have the same bell schedule as Nevada Union, which we have never had as long as I’ve been here, it would allow us to share programs,” he enthused. “So that’s something like their students zooming with a teacher here or students on our campus zooming with teachers on their campus. I think about AP courses right off the top of my head, since sometimes the student body is too small to offer certain ones.”

As a senior the new changes don’t affect me at all, meaning that all I can do is reflect on and compare them to my experience with the current schedule. I think being able to take more classes per year is a valuable opportunity that I wish was offered during my time here at Bear River. I know that it is unpopular among some underclassmen because they think more classes must mean more homework. I disagree, feeling that it means the ability to take more enrichment courses and maybe broadening the horizon of AP students. I think the schedule change will overall have an incredibly positive impact on the major schools of the district. 


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Growing support district wide for schedule changes