Bell schedule examined

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The Jesuit bell schedule is being examined by a faculty-based committee this semester for potential improvements and alterations.

Teachers and staff across all departments have been visiting schools across the Northwest, including both Metro League and Jesuit-affiliated schools, to see what prompted changes to their bell schedules and what has been the most effective.

Dr. Smart, the chair of the committee, describes the research as a preliminary initiative that will determine whether the schedule even warrants changing. The committee has identified both logistical and student-related reasons the current schedule may need to be adapted.

“Jesuit has had the same bell schedule since 1989, and during the last 28 years we’ve added faculty, buildings, programs, classes, and we’ve more than doubled in size,” Dr. Smart said. “We also did a survey of our students’ stress levels, and it raised questions about the relationship between stress levels and the schedule, especially as it relates to sleep, homework, [and] students’ ability to ask their teachers for help.”

While few results from other schools have been gathered yet, one common addition in other schools is a weekly activity period, in which there is a set time each week either for assemblies to occur or for students to use as a prep period.

Along with the external research by faculty, members of student government are conducting an internal investigation, polling students about what components of the bell schedule they think are flawed and what they would like to see changed.

“We’re asking students their general opinions about our current schedule, as well as if they believe they have a sufficient amount of time to get to class, how they feel about the current variations of assembly schedules, their opinion on a late start, and if they like the idea of an activity period,” senior Tony Caruso, a member of the student government subcommittee said.

Junior Markos Buhler, another subcommittee member, already recognizes a common trend among student respondents.

“A lot of students really welcome the idea of an activity period because the different assembly schedules make things kind of complicated,” Buhler said. “They also say that having an in-school opportunity to talk to their teachers and ask questions would be really helpful.”

Once Dr. Smart’s committee finalizes its results in January, it will send a recommendation to the administration on whether to adjust the bell schedule or not. If it does decide a revamp is necessary, another committee will determine which changes should ultimately be implemented in a new bell schedule.