The “Testing Schedule” is Testing Our Patience

by Sabina Jafri ‘20

It is now common for Sherwood students to receive a new calendars of assignments and deadlines from their teachers daily. Usually, these calendars are accompanied by vehement grumbling and some enigmatic force that’s “reworking everything” and “messing up the content.” Dismay sits like a fog over the first five minutes of each class period, when educators are forced to explain, for the umpteenth time, what the plan is for combating the block schedule that was imposed, spontaneously and highly illogically, on us all.

Implemented on April 22, and only at Sherwood, the schedule is a strange jumble of block periods and single periods, not necessarily in chronological order, and not equally distributed in frequency over the course of a week. Students puzzle over the “missing” third period, which occurs a mere 13 times in the next month: less than any other class. This offputting new “structure” that the administration has designed to accommodate a fraction of the school is sending the whole school into chaos.   

“I’m going to have to skip my internship at Greenwood most days because we have some morning classes all afternoon now, and I can’t keep missing those classes,” says senior Maya Wilson.

The schedule, it seems, not only affects Sherwood students, but those teachers and their students at local elementary schools where high schoolers in the child development program teach in the afternoons. Those young children will endure the disoriently inconsistent presence of a vital member of their classrooms, which may hinder their learning progress.

And speaking of hindering learning progress, students who are currently taking double period classes are, at times, stuck in that subject for hours a day.

“It’s unnecessarily difficult and burdensome on both students and teachers,” explains junior class treasurer Carlee Malone flatly. “I’m in AP Biology, and the thought of having to deal with that class for the entire first half of the day is insane. Three hours of instruction and work in one location does not give our minds the break it needs — the class I love will become exhausting and unengaging.”

On a different note, complaints have arisen in some corners of the schools, from that their teachers simply do not have enough content prepared to cover multiple hours a day. They’re often left, sitting, to entertain themselves for the better part of an hour. And we all know what is to be said of idle hands.

“The moral of the story is, it’s too confusing,” says junior Ela Pasternak, who is a dual enrollment student taking an online math class from Montgomery College during her eighth period. “We sometimes have period eight for two hours in the middle of the day. Usually I leave during eighth, what do I do now?”

What to do now is the question the entire school appears to be asking itself. In retrospect, a simply solution might’ve been refraining from changing the schedule to begin with. It’s easier for those in PARCC and HSA testing to make up smaller chunks of content from each class than miss blocks of content. It is possible to accommodate the few without levying the wealth of the many. The administration, like any representative government, is built to act for the greater good. When will it do that?