BBHS New Schedule: Does it benefit the students?

Dr. Chirles has recently proposed a new block schedule plan for BBHS for the 2022-2023 school year. Dr. Chirles emphasized that while the overall changes to the schedule are subtle and may appear to be minor, they are actually meticulously designed to improve the learning experience for the students, eliminate stress at the student and faculty levels, and create a smoother rotation within BBHS all around.
Administrators conferred with faculty members to review surveys completed by students and teachers regarding the current bell schedule. The feedback that the administration received created the impetus to revise the latest BBHS bell schedule. Consequently, Dr. Chirles has modified the existing plan to shorten the passing time in between classes by one minute, while also adjusting the manner in which the classes rotate on the eight day schedule.
Initially, Blind Brook students had a three-minute passing time for students to migrate between classes. Yet, three minutes proved difficult once students went back to a typical school day following the hybrid schedule in 2020-2021. BBHS transitioned to a five minute passing time in November 2021 to eliminate the stress on the students while transitioning between classes and prevent the likelihood of tardies. With one marking period left in the school year, the students have proven more than comfortable with the five minutes and therefore, one of the revisions for the 2022-2023 school year consists of a four-minute passing time for students to navigate through the hallways. The spare time will be added to lunch, allowing more time for academic assistance.
Furthermore, the way in which the classes rotate will shift dramatically. Rather than rotating eight periods throughout the day for the eight day letter day schedule, the newly proposed plan includes an AM rotation (periods one through four) and a PM rotation (periods five through eight). Additionally the new schedule will better accommodate teachers who have classes in both the middle and high schools.
Dr. Chirles emphasized that the benefits of the proposed new schedule plan are many. These include enabling part-time staff to adjust to assigned positions on short notice, allowing for students to participate in programs run by the Board of Cooperative Educational Services without having to miss class in the current eight-day schedule rotation. A significant bonus is that half-credit courses will meet more consistently within the eight day schedule, allowing for the material to remain fresh in the students’ minds.
Technical Education Programs that will be offered as a part of the proposed schedule include sound production, emergency medical services, animal service, automotive technology, culinary arts, cosmetology, and TV/Video Production. Principal Dr. Chirles expressed, “being able to partner with BOCES allows us to partner with career or educational programs that students may want to pursue or may be passionate about.” Students who immerse themselves in BOCES programs will be equipped with the proper tools for career opportunities they would like to hone in on before graduating high school. Integrating students into the BOCES program will offer new opportunities and strengthen the Blind Brook curriculum.
Blind Brook High School’s Student Congress Representatives surveyed their peers about the proposed new schedule and the most common concerns were: how lab periods will rotate, getting extra help for an exam if the testing period is always in the morning, and the possibility of consistently having more challenging classes in the morning when students are tired. As per Congress, these concerns have not been adequately addressed, and the students hope that they are prior to the start of the next school year.
The newly proposed Bell Schedule and Letter Day plans can be accessed on the Blind Brook FOCUS website.