At last week’s Harwood Unified Union School District (HUUSD) Board meeting, student representatives Maisie Franke and Jeswin Antony said that the new Harwood Union High School schedule poses a challenge for some students. Last year, Wednesdays were dedicated to Extended Learning Opportunity (ELO) time for students to meet with teachers, catch up on work and meet with clubs and other activities. ELO time is now spread throughout the week and, beginning this school year, on Wednesdays, students have all their classes in seven 45-minute blocks. On other days, they have either four classes and ELO time or three classes and two ELO blocks.
Franke said the new Wednesday schedule “hasn’t been received well by students.” She noted that the short classes and frequent transitions can be exhausting and make it difficult to concentrate. She said it’s challenging for both students and teachers and that energy levels are low on those days.
According to Harwood Union High School co-principal Meg McDonough, "We opted for the seven-block schedule on Wednesday for two reasons. We wanted a static week schedule so that each week would be the same, rather than having "A" days and "B" days that causes more confusion for students and families. Additionally, having a static schedule is much easier for students with internships, college courses, or any other out-of-the-building experiences that tend to operate on certain days of the week. In deciding between alternating Wednesdays (i.e., Wednesday is a gold day one week, and a black day the next week) or seven-block Wednesdays (the two options that would keep a static week), we used feedback from department and teachers. Most departments preferred a seven-block day because alternating Wednesdays (or any day) each week is confusing, causes you to have some classes back-to-back and others not for three days in some weeks, and makes it hard to have different sections of the same course in the same place. All in all, we continue to prioritize our decisions based on feedback from all stakeholders and recognize that when it comes to scheduling, we can never make everyone happy. In the scheduling world the most common saying is -- "you can do anything but not everything." As was the case last year we will again seek feedback regarding our scheduling at different times throughout this year."
Administrative assistant April Rule said the new schedule was voted upon with input from both students and staff, including surveys. “I’ve heard good things and bad things” from students regarding the new schedule, she said.
Franke and Antony met recently with all Harwood Union High School juniors to recruit for the role of student representatives to the school board. They reported that 11 juniors expressed interest. They are looking for two representatives and will conduct interviews soon.
Franke and Antony also mentioned positive things happening at Harwood this fall, including homecoming on October 15, a recent college fair with 45 schools in attendance that every student attended, and a club fair this week led by students with attendance from all nine to 12 students.
Also, at last week’s HUUSD Board meeting, the board approved a motion to warn an update to existing policy C6 regarding the board’s commitment to nondiscrimination and a new federally required policy, F24, on students who are homeless at its October 26 meeting. The Times Argus was designated as a second newspaper of record, along with The Valley Reporter (the Waterbury Reader had also previously been a paper of record but has ceased its operations).
The board approved a motion to name board members Cindy Senning, Bobbi Rood, Tori Taravella, Ashley Woods, and Marlena Tucker-Fishman to the restraint and seclusion policy subcommittee, which will review the district’s policy on these interventions in schools.