BSGE’s 2014-15 school year began at a surprising note when news went around that there was no more 8th period. For the first time in the school’s history, students must leave the building by 2:20 p.m. on Mondays AND Tuesdays. However, students are still free to engage in after school activities on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, in which the school closes at 4 p.m. The reason behind this schedule change is the UFT contractual agreement, otherwise known as the Teacher’s Contract. The Contract is based on the agreement that from now on, Monday and Tuesday’s 8th period will be swapped for teacher training and parent engagement, rather than last year’s student homework help that was offered.
Starting this year, on Mondays professional development and group meetings will be held in which only teachers are allowed to remain in the building. Then on Tuesdays, the school will be open until 4:00 pm for teachers either to work independently or with select students that need one-on-one training. Following this from Wednesdays to Fridays, the school will be open for after school activities such as Zumba, Yoga, Mouse Squad, the Bacc Rag and other clubs. (With the exception of Helping Hands which will continue to hold meetings on Mondays)
Most teachers that stay after school from Wednesday to Friday will not be paid by the Department of Education, considering their day at ends at 2:20 p.m. The PTA is fundraising to compensate the teachers for the lost money.
BSGE’s guidance counselor, Timothy David-Lang, spoke on the recent schedule change. “For the school community, 8th period has been a very valuable resource for several years,” he says. Mr.David-Lang added, “We’re going to have to find an alternate way to meet the needs of students, teachers and families now that we no longer have it.”
This new schedule has proven to be an issue for a variety of reasons. Now students are forced to participate in a lesser amount of activities, considering many different club meetings will be held at the same time. For example, band practice is held at the same time as yoga club. The schedule change has also impacted students’ ability to complete Community & Service hours, forcing students to look elsewhere for activities. Many after school clubs provide students with CAS hours, however if two of clubs are on the same day, students can be deprived of hours.
“Some people are happy with this schedule change, considering that now they won’t be assigned to 8th period for specific classes,” says Joshua Vaiman’ 15, another Senior at BSGE. He continued, “However it is also a disadvantage to students who really need the help, and also to Seniors applying to colleges who won’t have as much time to revise essays with our college adviser, Peter Wilson.”
The school will continue to be creative in offering help to students after school, and making BSGE an environment in which students will feel welcome to participate in clubs and activities.