First takes on the new schedule

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First takes on the new schedule

Many students at DHS this year have made class schedules the wallpaper of their phones so they know where to go during the school day.

Many students at DHS this year have made class schedules the wallpaper of their phones so they know where to go during the school day.

Bobby Thompson

Many students at DHS this year have made class schedules the wallpaper of their phones so they know where to go during the school day.

Bobby Thompson

Bobby Thompson

Many students at DHS this year have made class schedules the wallpaper of their phones so they know where to go during the school day.

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DHS changed its schedule to a rotating schedule with a built-in PASE period. The schedule was formulated with a committee of teachers and feedback from students. Students and staff members have a lot to say about the schedule.

Seven plus PASE is a schedule in which seven classes meet over a span of seven days. The schedule has five periods a day, not including the built-in PASE period. PASE is a period designed to provide support for students, whether that support is academic or for advice.

Some students, such as a junior student who would like to be referred to as A.S., appreciate the rotation. “The new schedule is good because it changes things up on a day-to-day basis which is something the old schedules were lacking,” she said. She said that the routine of last year’s schedule became boring after a while.

A sophomore student who asked to remain anonymous also enjoys the fact that he doesn’t see certain classes everyday. He likes that there are only five days in a school day instead of seven, which he thinks that the drop of classes makes this schedule “less chaotic” than last year’s. English Teachers Ann Fifield and Wilbur Higgins as well as Art Teacher Christine McFee can all also agree that the drop of classes provides a good break in the schedule. 

However, Senior Madison B. does not like the fluctuating days and finds that it’s easy to forget to do work for some classes. She also finds it difficult to remember how her schedule works, and she has to look at her phone frequently. Madison is not alone in looking at her phone at the end of each period; many Dartmouth High students have made their phone wallpaper a picture of their schedules. Some teachers have also made their computer backgrounds a picture of their schedules, such as Mr. Higgins; other teachers have printed their schedules out and hung them near their desk, such as Mrs. McFee.

 Mrs. McFee also finds the drop difficult when she wants to keep certain classes, such as her three Art 1 classes, in sync. She also said that the drop for her AP art classes difficult because the loss of time is “scary” when trying to prepare her students for the AP exam because there is less time to complete projects.

The built-in PASE period is popular among the students and staff. Madison B. said that she finds PASE most beneficial when she has something to do, such as homework. She also likes that students can reschedule for a different teacher up to a day before the PASE period takes place.

 “PASE is a really nice thing because it allows you to either get a head start on your homework from first period or catch up on some from the night prior,” said A.S. She also said that she thinks that PASE is a really good time to meet with guidance counselors for post-secondary planning. 

The sophomore student said that he likes PASE because it provides a “nice break” throughout the day. “Lunch is just PASE with food,” he said.

 Librarian Emily Goodwin enjoys a full house in the library during PASE. “Students are respectful and take advantage of their time,” said Ms. Goodwin. She said that there is a capacity of 85 students in the library during PASE, and that the library is always busy during PASE. 

Mrs. McFee hopes that her AP art students will schedule her for PASE in order to have more one-on-one time with her. She said that a lot of kids who schedule her only come in to hang out or do homework for other classes, and she said,“It’s hard to get to kids who actually need help.”

Both students and staff agree that the new schedule is much improved from last year’s seven period schedule, though most of them prefer the original block schedule.

A.S. likes the longer periods for her Advanced Placement courses this year as opposed to the shorter class times from last year. She said that she takes all AP classes except for foreign language, math, and electives, so she likes that her teachers have more time to teach than last year. “The longer periods for my AP [Chemistry] class are especially appreciated,” she said.

“I felt like I was a hamster on a wheel,” said Mrs. McFee. She said that she felt rushed and that she never knew what was going on. She also likes that she can focus on fewer classes a day as opposed to last year.

Ms. Fifield also likes the longer class periods and the break from two classes a day. She said that she likes the block schedule the best, however. “I could do three different things in each class period,” she said. She said that it was especially good for her AP classes, as they had more time to fully practice multiple choice questions and essays in preparation for the AP exam.

As an English teacher, she also appreciated the 86 minutes of prep during the block schedule to grade essays. “Last year’s and this year’s schedule [has] meant a loss of family time for many teachers because the work must get done, and if we don’t have time during the day, we must carve it out after school,” she said.

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