Cam High Decides to Keep Current Bell Schedule


Victor Dominguez

Cam High has three independently operating bell schedules. Image courtesy of the ACHS website.

In an attempt to accommodate WASC requirements for the school to integrate wellness and intervention time into class periods, Cam High administrators and teachers introduced the hybrid schedule for the 2021-2022 school year.

Students and teachers are already familiar with the schedule, but just as a refresher, Monday-Tuesday is a “regular” day schedule with 6 approximately 55-minute periods, Wednesday and Thursday each only have 3 periods that are nearly 2 hours long, and Friday is similar to Monday/Tuesday except school starts at 9:00 instead of 8:30 A.M.

Last month in May, a survey was sent out to students to gather input regarding the bell schedule; however, the vote had no impact on the final decision. Instead, teachers voted on the resolution and although teachers voted 59% in favor of changing the bell schedule, this was not the 67% supermajority required to change it.

The current bell schedule has been a point of major controversy, both amongst teachers and students who often struggle with the longer class periods.

On the one hand, some teachers enjoy block schedule because it allows them to have more continuous class periods which can be conducive to labs, independent work, and individually helping students. Others however complain that it is difficult for students (and sometimes themselves) to concentrate for so long and that they preferred the bell schedule from the 2019-2020 school year (essentially, 6 periods a day with a longer nutrition than we have currently).

Students also sympathize with and express similar concerns. “[This year’s bell schedule is] absolutely horrible,” said Cam High junior Olive Lee. “A lot of teachers just waste the extra time so there’s no point in being in the class. Since when were nature walks a part of learning?”

Cam High junior Alyssa Yoon also complained about teachers not knowing how to use the extra time during block schedule, stating, “[We walk] around campus aimlessly with teachers. They don’t know what to do with the time.”

Both students also complained that they often get bored during the class period and find it difficult to concentrate for so long.

But other students think that the current bell schedule is beneficial for learning. “I think it really depends on the teacher but a good teacher with block schedule will just give you a better lesson. Especially with science teachers, having the ability to do an experiment for an hour and a half is a lot more fun than being really forced for time. Block schedule you never feel forced for time,” said Cam High junior Christian Rezabala.

He elaborated, “Teachers need to give more independent time instead of literally lecturing for two hours. Like my math is a good example — I like two hours. [Our teacher] gives us forty minutes to [work on homework] and then the rest of the time is lecturing with breaks in between.”

“That’s the thing; they are technically trained but not good [at teaching on the block schedule.] I think teachers [and students] need to be trained more [to be on block schedule],” said Yoon.

Considering that Cam High will remain on this hybrid schedule for the foreseeable future, it is important that both teachers and students work together to address their concerns with block schedule. While Lee and Yoon expressed contempt for nature walks, many teachers see them as an opportunity to get students moving so that they can return to the classroom more relaxed than before.

Not only are some of the middle schools in the area already on block schedule (including Monte Vista), but perhaps students and teachers will be more used to the schedule coming next year, considering it was a drastic change from previous years.

And considering that future employment and college lectures require consistent concentration for sometimes more than two hours, perhaps it would be good for students to adjust to that during block schedule days.