Palo Alto High School’s Innovative Schedule Committee decided today to recommend to the school board a schedule that eliminates C days, establishes optional early-morning Flex periods twice a week, and is built around 80-minute class periods.
Both even days (days with periods 2, 4, and 6) and odd days (days with periods 1, 3, 5, and 7) will end at 3:35 p.m., which will impact some sports and other after-school activities.
“The Committee is nearing its end, but … technically, the school board has to approve it,” committee member and junior David Foster said. “We’re going to go to the school board in a month-ish with a big proposal and they have to sign off on it. Hopefully they will; we spent a long time on this, so hopefully they trust us.”
If the schedule, designated “80M,” is approved, Paly would follow a bi-weekly schedule, in which one week would have three odd days and two even days, and the next week would have two odd days and three even days. It would repeat in an alternating fashion.
Schedule 80M would also move zero period Physical Education’s start time from 7:10 a.m. to 7:25 a.m. Similar to the current schedule, there would be no zero period Physical Education on Fridays
In addition, on even days students would have optional Flex time from 8:30 a.m. to 9:50 a.m. Teachers and staff would also have a flexible PLC (professional learning communities) period for a minimum of 50 minutes during the same time period.
According to the ISC, this student Flex time would allow students to choose when they wanted to wake up and go to school up until the start of 2nd period, at 10:05 a.m.
Odd days would have a 40 minute period from 1:30 p.m. to 2:10 p.m. that would consist of a 30-minute Tutorial period and 10 minutes for InFocus. Even days would have the same 40- minute period at the same time, but reserved for Advisory, and Tutorial for students not scheduled for Advisory.
Schedules similar to the 80M schedule are already used by many schools, ISC facilitator Ken Yale said.
“It’s a very common schedule that’s used by many schools, including Los Gatos High School and Saratoga High School,” Yale said. “Saratoga is an interesting case…one of the things we [the committee] looked at was actually their experience, because a couple years ago. … Saratoga had a schedule very similar to your schedule, and transitioned to one very similar to the one we chose. Los Gatos, their sister school, had been using that same schedule for nearly 10 years, so we actually had a case study of those schools with very similar demographics that had used this for a long time, as well as seeing what their transition process was like.”
According to Foster, the schedule is a compromise between differing student opinions.
“Of course, every schedule has its trade-offs,” Foster said. “It ends at 3:35 p.m. every day, and I know that can be tough for some people … but at the same time the later start was important as well, and we had to balance. So I’m pleased with the schedule, but of course there’s trade-offs.”
Although the committee has accomplished its task of deciding on a new schedule, there is still much work to be done, Foster said.
“It [the decision] is impressive, it has been a long time, but the thing is, it’s not at all done,” Foster said. “I mean, we have a final schedule, but the rollout is really important. … We really want the whole community engaged and involved and understanding, and we want everyone to understand why every decision was made. I don’t want anyone in the dark or confused or upset.”