Some thoughts on Strake Jesuit’s new bell schedule

Justin Ho ’21

The recent adjustment to daily schedule for the start of the 2018-2019 school year has been one of the most significant bell schedule changes in Strake Jesuit history.

This revamp alters the way students and teachers go about their school day. Major changes involve addition of community time, removal of homeroom, extended class time, fewer class periods per day, decreased lunch time, and longer transition time, all big changes for our students who were here last year.

Although the change is refreshing, there are some conflicts I feel need addressing.

The first is the addition of community time, when students are free to finish their work, have talks with teachers, meet with their respective organizations, or just relax.

Sure, you have a dedicated 50 minutes of freedom before class, but at what cost? For one, lunch is now around 25 minutes before the next bell compared to the around an hour we had for lunch last year. As a result, you technically now have an hour and 15 minutes of free time compared to the 1 hour you had last year. Unlike last year, however, lunch was never shortened or taken away from you because of a late start, mass, morning assembly, pep rally, or advisory.

No matter what, you always had that one hour of lunch to eat leisurely or get some work done every single day. But now that time isn’t always guaranteed, and you’ve got only 25 minutes to swallow down your essential nutrients. I’ve seen students attempting to consume food in under five minutes, which is unsafe and unhealthy. Additionally, lunch provided ample and guaranteed time for finishing homework. A longer lunch more than replaces community time, and it is a better, safer and healthier alternative.

There’s also extension of transition time between classes from a meager five minutes to a whopping 10 minutes. Although it does feel pretty relaxing to no longer have to rush from the 300 building to the third floor of STEM and barely make it to next class, 10 minutes is pretty excessive. Around seven to eight minutes of transition time would be more reasonable and it would not feel like an eternity to begin the next class. What is more, students would at least take a little more responsibility to get to class in time while not being under too much stress. Not to mention, that the extra time could be used to boost lunchtime from around 10-15 minutes.

Additionally, not being able to have all classes everyday means fewer opportunities to go over and review materials for a quiz, test, or project.

There’s also the removal of homeroom, which provided a set time where students were required to listen to SJET, the SJ news show. SJET was a vital part to the Strake Jesuit community because it announced upcoming club meetings and gave recognition to the accomplishments achieved by students. Now, with the removal of homeroom, students are no longer required to watch SJET. I feel bad for SJET, as they no longer get many views, and with fewer students watching SJET, that means less recognition to the SJ students who achieve awards or accomplishments. With the removal of homeroom, Strake Jesuit lost an important part of daily life.

The bell schedule was revised in a way to improve the quality of life at Strake Jesuit. Do the pros outweigh the cons?