Potential new schedule hurts students


Isabella del Nido

With the removal of a class, students would have to give up an extra elective.

Editorial Board

The proposed seven period block schedule alters ability to have a versatile college transcript

AISD superintendent Stephanie Elizalde recently released a proposal that would change the current eight period schedule district-wide for all secondary schools starting the 2022-23 school year.

The proposed schedule change from her office would alter the current eight class period schedule to a seven period schedule and teachers would teach six out of seven classes instead of the current six out of eight periods.

While the board will hold discussions about the plan in early January, the ultimate power to make the final decision rests entirely with Elizalde. She will make the final ruling, regardless of any board decisions.

This proposal has sparked major concerns from the whole student body, their parents, and teachers about how their academic future will be affected when applying for colleges with the current course requirements and the limited amount of elective spots available in the proposed schedule.

The Dispatch leadership team is concerned about this proposal, which will not address the needs of students and teachers. If implemented, students will not be as competitive as they currently are in multiple areas. We urge Elizalde to explore other options and to not make this change.

This proposed schedule, with just seven classes per year, is not reflective of what students need to be academically prepared for college, and is inconsiderate of teachers’ time.

Students currently take 32 year-long classes over four years, but the proposed schedule would cut that by one class per year to 28 total. The current state requirement of 16 core classes, combined with fine arts requirements, PE credits, foreign languages, and the required health credit leaves very little time in a student schedule for electives.

The lack of elective options throughout the four-year high school experience leaves no place for students to branch out and find a “home” where they can find a future when they head off to college or the workplace.

Most students will only have a single option across four years of enrichment. And if they decide to switch tracks, will never reach the capstone, or final year class in any sequence.

  Each member of the Dispatch leadership team are seniors, and we are all in capstone classes for a course that was not our first option when we started high school. This means that all of us would have missed out on the chance to fully participate in our current classes, if we were held to the proposed challenge.

For athletes, who almost always double block classes, would only be able to take their required courses and their sport class. This is the case for at least 300 students and if a college was looking over their transcript they would not be able to get the full picture of that student’s academic ability. This is not the fault of the student, but the district not prioritizing their students’ academic successes.

Another problem is the loss of off periods. Many students take part time jobs, and depend upon having these periods to get to work on time. There would be none of these in the future.

As for teachers, the Dispatch leadership team believes that this new proposed change will only make teachers’ jobs more challenging. This is because the schedule change will inevitably make teachers have more work because they would see each of their classes four times a week. Teachers will need to make more lesson plans and they would have less time to do so because one of their conference periods would be taken away.

If this plan is implemented by Elizalde, it would negatively impact students and teachers.

There are other, creative ways to make the changes that will address the budget deficit which is at the root of this plan. The district could do any of the following to save money: change the schedule to a four-day calendar, with a three-day weekend and extend classes on those four days to make up the minutes required; look at middle management salaries and determine where changes could be made at the district level to save funding; or, and this is our strongest recommendation, refuse to make a full payment to the state for recapture. Hold back the $61 million needed so there are no cuts to be made. The state would still get more than 50% of Austin taxpayers’ dollars, which is scheduled to be more than $700 million next year. Holding back just 11% would balance the budget.

We believe that the district should value its most important stakeholders, their students, at the highest level, and it starts with the most important group, high school students. We are on our final steps before entering the world, and we need our transcripts to remain versatile, and competitive when it comes to getting into college. This plan will not benefit students in the long run.

We think the future of AISD students is more important than saving a few bucks by eliminating teachers whose classes change student’s lives. Every adult we know remembers that single teacher that changed their life. Don’t get rid of someone who might be one of those people. Do not make this change.