New Upper School schedule receives mixed reviews

Dana Hall’s Upper School schedule has undergone a massive change. In the old, pre-pandemic schedule, students had 45-minute classes with one or two 1-hour extended periods per day. In the new schedule, students have 65-minute classes each day, paired with one 90-minute extended block three days a week. 

Conference Periods, which took place three days a week in the old schedule, now occurs every day. Half-credit classes still meet twice a week, although those classes are now 20 minutes longer. The schedule now includes an A and a B week with slightly different class schedules.

There were many reasons for the new schedule, including fewer transition periods and fewer classes to prepare for each day, as full-credit classes now meet three rather than four times a week. The new schedule also allows for better alignment between the Upper and Middle School class times.

According to Upper School Learning Specialist Kim Stewart, one of the intents of the new schedule was to cater to those who have learning differences. She believes that fewer classes per day and more time in each class allows for class time to be less rushed and topics to be explained more in depth. Ms. Stewart added that with the now daily conferences, it is easier for students to create a consistent schedule for meeting with teachers.

However, after practicing the new schedule, Ms Stewart recognizes that it can feel “fragmented.” Maddie Giordano ‘22 has found that “the classes are too long, and it’s hard for kids with learning differences, like me, to focus and stay engaged.” 

Stephanie Copeland ‘23 feels that the new schedule lacks passing time, adding that “the passing times are too short and there is no time for us to get a snack or have a ten-minute break.” Furthermore, “Conference is too short and I don’t like how there is no passing time from Conference to the next class.” 

Director of the Upper School Jessica Keimowitz is relatively optimistic about the schedule, stating that “[it] has certainly added many positives to the Dana Hall community, such as more times to meet with teachers and daily conference periods, but it certainly has its drawbacks, like the longer class periods and shortened passing periods. I am interested to see if the mindset about the new schedule changes as the year progresses.”

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