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The Insight

The Insight

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Potential Schedule Change

 On November 6, during a Meeting for Announcements, Hassan Wilson, Friends Seminary’s Dean of Faculty, announced that Friends’ schedule committee would start the process of deeply analyzing the current schedule. Every eight to ten years, Friends’s schedule committee evaluates the school’s schedule, looking for needed adjustments. The last time that Friends Seminary experienced a radical schedule change was in 2014, when they adopted the eight-day schedule in place of the existing five-day schedule that had 45-minute periods. The current ten-day schedule was a quick emergency change due to the spread of COVID-19, meaning it has been nine years since the last regularly planned schedule change.

A schedule change at Friends is a complex and long process that can take over three years. It is run by a schedule committee, whose co-leaders this time are Mr. Wilson and Bryan Hogan, the Director of Communications and Media Engagement. The process is typically divided into three major phases. The first is to obtain input from the community that will guide future decisions. This step mainly consists of interviews, department meetings, divisional meetings for the adults, and a survey sent out to the students. The survey is designed to give the committee “an honest reflection on your lived experience,” according to Mr. Wilson. The committee wants “a picture of what people are experiencing; what is working with the schedule and what is not working with the schedule and any suggestions people have.” Additionally, committee members have shadowed students for a day to get a better understanding of how their schedule feels. From all this data, they will begin to identify major themes and priorities.

In the second phase, the schedule committee will take the insights discovered in the first phase and use that information to further inform their research. The committee will also be doing research and professional development. Members of the committee will then visit other schools to see if their schedules provide solutions to issues in Friends’s schedule. At the end of the second phase, “we will recommend if we either need a full-scale schedule revamp or just minor tweaks,” says Mr. Wilson. The next phase, which will take place next year, includes crafting schedule drafts and multiple revisions on the drafts. This phase leads to the official first mockup.

It is unclear at the current moment what a new schedule would look like. The schedule committee has a broad idea of how the schedule works and how it does not. A new schedule would most likely address the issues seen in some divisions, but that cannot be determined until there is a consensus. 

There are many different views on the current schedule. Mr. Wilson greatly appreciates that classes do not meet every day, as it gives more time to study and do homework, lowering students’ stress levels. He also loves the fact that there are collaboration periods in both Middle and Upper school, because it is a time where all students and teachers are available. He also appreciates that Meetings for Worship, Meetings for Announcements, advisory periods, and assemblies happen on a consistent basis. “Personally, I would like to see these in a schedule,” says Mr. Wilson. Bryan Hogan, the other leader of the committee, believes that “it is very important that schedules are student-centered. The schedules should be built and designed around what students today need in order to learn deeply and to learn well, but that has to be applicable from Kindergarten to 12th grade.” Students interviewed had varying perspectives. Liam White ‘27 said, “I find early dismissal for sports to be really frustrating for both me and my teachers. I get behind in my work and get lost during the next class. In a new schedule, although this might be difficult, I would like a better solution.”  Sammy Banikazemi ‘27 noted,  “I really like how much free time I have. I can usually get my work done and still have time for extracurricular activities. I hope that Friends will not change this.” 

Creating a schedule will be challenging, as there are many different views and priorities throughout the Friend’s community. The matter of a schedule change is very important, and it will be interesting to watch it play out over the next three years. 

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