Staff editorial: Shortened-day process needs changes

Administration and students must take steps to create a more efficient shortened-day process

JagWire staff

USETHISJENAAAAAAAAIllustration by Jason Chen

With almost half of the senior class — 133 of 281 seniors — having a shortened day, the effects of such scheduling have become more apparent than in past years. While shortened-day schedules are beneficial for many students, there are still aspects of the process that need revision.

Currently, when seniors apply for shortened day in December, they must provide a paragraph to explain their reasons for changing their schedule. The counseling department should replace this with interview-style meetings during the first week of school with students who would like to go shortened day. This would give these students a chance to discuss their reasons for the change and which classes they would drop. Students would then be able to alter their schedule in the beginning of the year with the rest of the schedule changes, which would stop overcrowding and under-crowding to occur at the change of semesters.

These meetings would also encourage seniors to have legitimate reasons, such as wanting to work more, take a college class or have more time to study. Seniors could consider their decision over summer break, so by the time they met with the counseling department, many would have well-thought out reasons. The counselors would have to hold up their end of the deal as well, by not allowing students with invalid reasons to shorten their schedule. The counselors could even require a note from a manager or another authority figure proving that the student will use his or her time off wisely.

When seniors drop classes for their shortened-day schedules, they often change the blocks when they have year-long classes, causing unequal class sizes. To lower the amount of seniors who go shortened day, which would lower class size inequality, the district should offer resources for the administration to add more classes for students to take. If class offerings were more varied, fewer seniors would feel as if they had to take “pointless classes” to fill up their schedules. Adding more classes exclusively for seniors could also give those considering going shortened day an incentive to have a full schedule.

Before going shortened day, seniors should consider more than just what they will do with their time. By going shortened day, seniors could potentially miss out on many high school events that they will not get to experience again, like spirit days, pep assemblies and generally spending time with their classmates. Also, colleges may discredit seniors for not having a full schedule in their second semester, which could make or break acceptance or scholarships. Those who decide that shortening their schedule is the most beneficial option after weighing the pros and cons should make sure to use their time wisely, arrive at school on time and not flaunt their extra free time to their full-time peers.

In order to improve the process of going shortened day, both counselors and students need to make changes. If the counseling department took potential shortened-day status into more consideration when placing students in classes and required more concrete reasons for going shortened day, class sizes would not vary as much. Students considering shortened day should weigh the decision more heavily. The JagWire recognizes that going shortened day can be beneficial for some seniors, and with an improved shortened day process, such a decision will have less of a negative effect.

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