EHHS Student Soundoff: Semester Two Schedule Change

EHHS students have mixed reactions to the new schedule changes that began in semester two. Block four is now 115 minutes long, while blocks one, two, and three are 87 minutes.

The new semester two schedule

Junior, Genevieve Gambardella saying “I feel like the schedule changes are not helpful for us and if anything it makes our days harder because most of the teachers do whatever they want anyway and some teachers say that they are going to use it as a grade for us.” Genevieve explains that she has experienced the opposite of what the schedule changes were made for, stating “it makes me not want to pay attention in class because I just want to leave, and I get so bored, I can’t focus on my work because all I can think about is how I have to sit there for so long.” Her final statement is that she doesn't have a choice in any of this, “I feel like I don’t have a voice in my education like I’m just being forced to do stuff that other people want me to do.”

Junior, Marissa Joseph shares similar experiences brought to her by the changes done to the schedule. She explains that teachers are not using this time effectively for the better cause of students. “I feel like the schedule changes are affecting me negatively because I can’t focus very well.” Marissa has a different approach to these changes, expressing her ideas to what to do instead with the following: “I feel like we should take that time to walk around, go on a walk outside, a mask break, talk to our friends, go get extra help from teachers, go to the library, go to make an appointment with guidance, go to the bathroom. We shouldn’t be sitting there doing Newsela articles and reading books.” Marissa also explains that students need mental breaks instead of more added work.

Semester 1 2021 Schedule

On the opposite side, Freshman, Alivia Rosado has a different approach to the schedule changes, saying “I like the schedule changes since it's like a break from doing classwork, it doesn't affect me.” Alivia explains that when she is done with her 30-minute assignment, she can do other stuff such as getting started on her homework. Freshman, Angelina Bellacicco, shares similar experiences as Aliva saying “I like how the teachers kind of add the 30 minutes to class time, making the period go faster.” They both agree that they are still adapting to the sudden changes being made.

This change wasn't the first one done at EHHS for the 2021-2022 school year. The first occurred in semester one. EHHS Principal, Mr. Vincent DeNuzzo, explains, “Over the summer the Board of Education because so many kids struggled in the last year and a half, decided to add 30 min to the schools across the district. The reason they did it was to provide what they called intervention and support to students, to make up for the loss that they might have experienced learning online. It’s hard learning remotely. So trying to make up for that loss, they added 30 minutes. We didn't want to. What they wanted was 30 minutes in the middle of the day where you wouldn't go to math, science, history, etc. You should go to this period where you can get support or help.” Unfortunately, this did not fit with the EHHS schedule so what administration did was add 30 min to each block making it 94 minutes, but then the administration wanted to make different alterations, Mr. DeNuzzo says “then we started talking about how we could make schedule changes for semester 2 and we proposed an idea of 30 minutes during the middle of the day.”

Mr. DeNuzzo hopes that these changes will bring change to the students, stating that if they stay the same, then change will not be made. He hopes that this school year will bring some positive changes to students and benefit them, stating the following: “Trying to combat the negativity and frustration by encouraging people to try new things, to be open-minded, and also to know that we are doing it to try to help like we are not doing it to make anybody miserable, we are doing it to try to fix some things that may be out there like a lot of kids struggling still, failing classes, struggling with attendance, so how do we fix those things? And if you're doing things the same way and you're not changing, then you gotta try new stuff, and that is part of our belief.” He explains that the best way to make change happen is by taking small steps to achieve a bigger goal that is beneficial to students, teachers, and staff.

With these sudden changes, EHHS students continue to have mixed emotions about their experiences.

Photo Credit: Mirta Sandoval