New schedule met with confusion and excitement


Lena Bianchi, Head of Illustration and Infographics

Excerpt of a survey conducted on 68 members of the Urban community between Sept. 18 and Sept. 24 measuring respondents’ reactions to various aspects of the new schedule. The margin of error was 9%.

Kian Nassre, Editor in Chief of Visuals

In years past, only freshmen would be caught walking the school halls with no clue of what class they had next. As of this fall, freshmen are no longer alone in their perplexion as the entire Urban School community explores the ups and downs of the new schedule.

Changes incorporated in the new schedule are as follows: some E periods were replaced with Tutorial periods to meet with teachers and U periods to take non-graded electives. Each class meets three times a week, and there are, at most, three classes each day whereas the old schedule featured up to four classes a day and two of them met four times. The start time was pushed back from 8:10 to 8:30 Mondays through Thursdays, and to 9:15 on Fridays. The four day week schedule was compressed so that every day featured three classes, resulting in the creation of an hour and 45 minute minute long periods.

The overall theme of members of the Urban School community interviewed was that the initial shock of the new schedule faded into positivity.

“It took a little while to adjust to only having three classes in the first few days of school … [However,] it was a pretty smooth transition because [the schedule] didn’t change all that much,” said Asante Spencer (‘20), who described her feelings towards the new schedule as “content.”

Spencer’s assessment resembled that of Urban School newcomer James Nielsen (‘21).

“When I first came here I was a little surprised by the speed of the classes, how fast things go, but now I’m pretty accustomed to it,” Nielsen said.

Positive feelings to the new schedule, however, are not universal; others expressed some confusion towards the new schedule.

“It’s an adjustment to look at the new schedule every day to know what’s going on. I’m always running around; I’m a bit more flustered, especially with the five minute breaks.” history teacher Charisse Wu said.

Yet many negative feelings towards the new schedule seems to be centered around the four day weeks, which are frequent during fall trimester.

“It’s difficult getting used to where to go, especially with four day weeks. It’s just hard to know what I’m supposed to be doing at all times,” said Gus McAllister (‘19), who described the schedule overall as “confusing.”

“I used to have a sense of exactly how long [periods] were, and I could plan my activities accordingly. With the new schedule, it’s less obvious to me what activities I can do in the one hour 45 minute periods,” Wu said. “These four day weeks in the fall are so disorienting.”

A survey conducted by The Urban Legend of 68 members of the Urban School community between Sept. 18 and Sept. 24, 2017 measured respondents’ reactions to the new schedule.  While 54 percent of all respondents had positive reactions to the schedule overall, and 33 percent had neutral reactions, 47 percent felt that the new schedule was more complicated than the old one. The latter trend is unexpected considering that the old schedule had two variations that alternated weekly whereas the new schedule only has one fixed class distribution in five day weeks.

Both in the survey and in interviews, underclassmen were relatively positive about U periods, while upperclassmen had more diverse feelings.

“I was into the idea [of U periods] in the beginning, but then I had the realization that if no one is being graded or evaluated in any way, no one is going to put forth any effort, including the teacher, and that has been my experience so far,” Brad Bell (‘18) said.

However, many members of the Urban School community, regardless of grade, held a positive view of T periods.

“I like the T periods because last year I was in Urban Singers and we didn’t get very many study halls during the school day, and I have two [every week] now,” Spencer said.

“I feel like T periods are even more useful than E periods because you can even find your teachers who are in designated classrooms to go talk to them and really work out your problems,” Nielsen said.

That optimism extended to the late start as well.

“I like the late start, and I commute from the South Bay so I get to wake up later which is really helpful,” Spencer said.

“I love that it’s an 8:30 start, for the students and for myself; I have more time to prep,” Wu said.

As the first year of the new schedule continues, feelings of confusion are likely to fade as the exciting new aspects of the schedule become everyday aspects of Urban life.