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Redwood Bark

Redwood Bark

Redwood Bark

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Redwood High School rings in with a new bell schedule

Redwood has implemented a new bell schedule for the 2023-2024 school year without considerable input from students. One major change is that first, second, third and SMART period block days now occur on Wednesday and Friday, while fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh period blocks have been rescheduled to take place on Tuesday and Thursday. Another change is the shortened five minute break and ten minute passing period after the first period on block days, which is now just a ten minute passing period. This updated bell schedule has proved a major source of frustration for the student body.

Having break time in work, school and life is essential. A study by Hans Henrik Sievertsen, a researcher at the Danish National Centre for Social Research, found that for every hour later in the day, students’ average test scores decrease as fatigue sets in; however, added break times improve the average scores close to the original. Mental health struggles are at an all time high, students are more stressed than ever and, to counter this, Redwood removed our breaks on block days. Not having a five minute break may seem like it doesn’t have a big impact on students and their productivity, but it does. Ten minutes is enough time for walking to class leisurely with time to spare, but not enough time to go outside and socialize. Fifteen minutes, however, allows students to go outside during the break and spend the passing period with friends, which de-stresses students and increases their focus when they return to class. Some of my closest friends at Redwood were made during the 15 minutes in between classes, yet now the time for socializing in between classes is essentially eliminated. Students may burn out quicker without the extra time to decompress and take a break from learning. 

Illustration by Ava Stephens

For decades now, student-athletes have left school early for sporting events, missing out on their classes at the end of the day; the Marin County Athletic League schedule for all sports contains many more games on Fridays than Thursdays. In the past, upperclassmen who had no seventh period did not end up missing classes when they left early for their Friday games. Yet, with the new schedule, student-athletes will often miss their third period class to leave for games instead of seventh period, which the majority of upperclassmen have off. This means that at most 50 percent more student-athletes are missing a block period on Wednesday and Friday game days, which can be very detrimental to learning.

For years, students have wasted time in SMART, roaming around the halls or even skipping the class altogether. However, Redwood claims to have solved this problem by putting SMART period after first period on Friday, rather than at the end of the day Thursday. They have also clamped down on students in the hallways, and even banned phones in the hallway during the period. While putting a work period in the middle of the day and tightly restricting students may increase productivity, Redwood neglected the fact that SMART is meant for students to do homework. The majority of underclassmen receive little weekend homework, leaving them with nothing to do during the period. Even upperclassmen who do have homework may be less inclined to do it on a Friday, knowing they still have three days before it is due. Data from the September Bark survey supports this theory, as only 22 percent of Redwood students believe that they are more productive this year than they were last year in SMART period.

The changes to the bell schedule have and continue to be more harmful than beneficial. The aforementioned Bark survey additionally showed that 61 percent of Redwood students believe that the bell schedule this year is worse than last year. Less break time, more missed school for athletes and less productivity in SMART class have made the new schedule unpopular. Now more than ever, the high school years continue to become important in shaping the future of youth. We must look for ways to positively impact our students, making them more productive and happier. It is thus imperative that we return to the prior bell schedule as soon as possible, for the sake of the students.

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About the Contributor
Matthew Knauer
Matthew Knauer, Sports Editor
Matthew Knauer is a junior at Redwood High School and is a sports editor for the bark. He enjoys playing baseball, surfing, and hanging out with friends.