New schedule adds class time, cuts passing time

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With a new school year comes, yet again, a new bell schedule.

Harrisites began the fall term with one-to-two minutes added to each band, and a school day that ends at 3:05 p.m. instead of last year’s 3:00 p.m.  This new change was made to ensure that all students would meet the state requirement of 5.5 hours of instructional time per day, which Townsend Harris fell short with previously. To make up for the longer bands, the time allocated for students to switch between classes has been reduced from four to three minutes.

“These little amounts of time add up,” said Assistant Principal of Guidance, Veronica York. “This little chunk of time would get our students over.”

Rafal Olechowski, Assistant Principal of Humanities, found that the time slot is a bit narrow.

“Three minutes is a tight amount of time for students. We could have made more time, but by making more time, we would have to end school much later.” He explained that the goal was to make the schedule as close to last year’s as possible. “This schedule is the best solution for the school as a community,” he added.

Although not a drastic difference from last year’s schedule, Principal Anthony Barbetta feels that another schedule is another change students, staff, and the THHS community have to learn to adjust to. He stated, “Everyone in the school community needs stability. I would like one set schedule.”

One aspect of the schedule that many have remarked upon is the transition period from class to class.

Students, like junior Alana Jacques, have taken serious notice of the time slot in-between classes. Alana noted, “Three minutes is a slim amount of time to get from one class to another, especially if you are going from the gym to the 6th floor to meet your next class.”

Physical Education and Health teacher Maria Assante likes the additional minutes added to each band, but understands the pressure of getting to class in such a short time, commenting “How can I penalize late students when I see them huffing and puffing?”

However, Classical Languagaes teacher Andrew Hagerty has not noticed any “irregularities” in students getting to class on time.

Ellen Fee, Assistant Principal of Organization, Health, & Physical Education does not really “notice a difference” in this year’s schedule compared to last year’s “big adjustment.”

“The schedule has changed so many times in my tenure at THHS that I do not notice,” added Mr. Hagerty.

In May 2013, the bell schedule underwent drastic alterations as the majority of bands were shortened by ten minutes and changed to meet everyday instead of four times per week.

Junior Eriselda Cuni commented, “If the schedule stays this way, it would be ideal.”