The Schedule Change

Jolina Balinsky and Sydney Reed

I bet we were all flabbergasted when we opened our schedules back in August and saw that it now comprised 11 periods. In fact, schedule changes are nothing new to our school. Our eighth graders have experienced a schedule change every single year, so it is only fair that they are the ones who can speak out about this topic.

“I think this was a positive change because it adds less stress to the kids who struggle in science and social studies, so they have more chances to make up for one flunked assignment. When before, you were stuck with an average that was hard to recover from,” Mary, an eighth grader, explains.

Shannon, who is another eighth grader, now agrees, “At first, I didn’t think it was a positive change because it was too stressful having to adjust to something I wasn’t used to. But in the end, it makes the days fly by and all in all, it makes school easier.”

Hammonton Middle School students now have to go to every subject every day, as opposed to last year, when they had science and social studies every other day. Students also now have gym as well as another special in each day, whereas last year’s schedule consisted of having gym for half the year and alternating four specials the other half of the year. While both Mary and Shannon agree that having gym everyday is a fun bonus, they would like a few extra minutes to change, something that just doesn’t fit into the schedule. At first, I think all of us were a little flustered with having to change our normal school routine, but as the school year has gone on, I think all HMS students have adjusted, and have even grown to like the 11 periods. “I like having shorter class periods because it holds my attention more,” Mary says after I asked her for one final thought on the subject. “I think this was a good move on HMS’s part,” Shannon adds. “It teaches kids about time management and how good things come with change.”   

Other than the kids being affected by the schedule, teachers were affected, too. These writers interviewed three teachers and found out more of their side of the story. All three teachers said that it was either easier to teach in the shorter blocks or just an adjustment to get used to. Due to the shorter blocks, all three of the teachers said that they had to change their lesson plans. Mrs. Scully, a 6th grade social studies teacher, said that she had to add more to the curriculum because she only used to see the kids every other day. Mrs. Palladino and Mrs. Coyle both said that they had to cut some activities out. Mrs. Scully and Mrs. Palladino said they love the new schedule and that it is great, and Mrs. Palladino brought a good point: “It is very difficult for middle school aged children to focus on tasks for 92 minutes.”

Mrs. Coyle also likes the new schedule, but explained that as a language arts teacher, it is hard to teach reading and writing in a 66 minute block. The teachers believe that the new schedule has not really put any stress on the kids, and if it did that they should get used to it because high school is almost the same, if not more work. A special thanks goes out to Mrs. Scully, Mrs. Palladino, and Mrs. Coyle for taking the time to answer our questions.

All in all, the new schedule is a drastic change from the ones in the past, and from what we can gather, students and teachers alike, they seem to like the schedule. The schedule allows students to learn more in a day because of science, social studies, and the new special activities. Overall, HMS can come into an agreement that the new schedule is a big hit school-wide, for teachers and students alike.