Hackett Considers 7-Block Schedule for 2023-2024

Vivian Wang and Toshio Yuki

Julie Hackett, the Lexington Public Schools superintendent, is considering implementing a new, 7-block schedule for the 2023-2024 school year. For Lexington High School students who are currently enrolled in over seven classes each year, this may entail significant changes to class length and elective requirements.

The schedule is in its early stages and its approval depends upon a collective agreement among students, teachers, administrators, and faculty members.

“[The implementation of the new schedule] won’t be happening anytime soon. But right now, the kind of communication is between Dr. Stephens and Jennifer Godet… After they come up with a plan, it’ll probably have a lot of teacher feedback, union feedback, and then community feedback from parents and from students. There’ll definitely be a community input team that’s composed of all of the people that would be impacted,” Sara Mei, a senior and LHS school committee representative, said.

While the discussion of a new schedule is an ongoing process, the administration hopes to meet the state requirement of yearly time on learning, and address inequities at LHS.

“Right now at the high school, our juniors and seniors don’t meet that [time on learning] because of the open campus policy. While we’re working on time on learning, we’re also embedding in some of the student equity and teacher equity concerns that have been going on for quite some time now,” Mei said.

One notable feature being considered is a designated period in the schedule for certain clubs and activities. The opportunity for students to pursue extracurriculars during the school day excites some LHS staff members.

“If you can incorporate [clubs and activities] into the school day, that provides better opportunities for everybody to participate, and it will be easier for clubs to get advisors. [Students are] doing something extracurricular that’s not academic, but also brings value to [their] school experience,” Caroline Fantasia, an English teacher, said.

While some students are optimistic about the opportunity to incorporate new features and adjustments into the school day, others are concerned with the impact that longer class periods will have on  already-high workloads.

“I’m assuming that longer blocks means more homework each night. A lot of LHS students are already stressed and overworked, so I just think that might be a problem. I hope that, if the administration does decide to end up switching to a 7-block schedule, they can consider adding some restrictions to keep the work manageable for students,” Zoe Gray, a junior, said.

Others hope that the administration will take this opportunity to improve weaknesses in the current schedule. This includes the 90 minute-long lunch block, which many students and teachers alike hope to eliminate from future schedules.

“I feel like classes are generally a good length except for the one really long lunch block. Sitting through it is always hard,” Gray said. “It would be nice if they cut that block up somehow or gave us a little more time to eat.”

Although the status of the proposed schedule is up in the air, students are hoping that the reformed 2023-2024 schedule will add to their overall experience at LHS.

“I just hope that whatever they end up choosing, they’ll consider how it will affect students and teachers who are under stress… and of course, also COVID restrictions,” Gray said.