The Schedule Shuffle

A student walks down the hall, heading to his L1 lunch period before going to Schola practice. His classes are 50 minutes. He has three minutes between classes and only six classes in a day. This was the life of a student here before the 2020-2021 school year.

The bell schedule at the school has changed drastically over the past two years. It used to be a six-period school day with a limited number of elective class periods. Students could access some electives through clubs in the form of a 25-minute lunch study period. During the pandemic, the school began running on an eight-period schedule with multiple electives such as a full-fledged journalism class, graphic design, robotics, several new history classes, and an eighth-period athletic period. This cost the school the mini-class period used for some of the clubs.

Some teachers have a positive viewpoint on the new changes. Mr. Paul Lincicome said, “It has been a really great option to offer some flexibility for our students. It has made us a more diverse school.” He goes on to mention his love for robotics. “It gives me the opportunity to teach robotics, which is awesome.”

Even though Mr. Lincicome now teaches one more class than he used to, he said, “I picked up a class that I really enjoy. So, getting to teach a class that I love outweighs the extra effort the class brings on.”

Mr. Lincicome also talked about his joy that the school offers more diverse classes like aerospace and World War II history. “Kids in aerospace are now able to fly drones and maybe get their droning license. For the history buffs, we now have World War II, Civil War, Medieval [History], and all these offerings that we had no chance of being able to offer before.”

As for the loss of L1 and L2, Mr. Lincicome said, “Good riddance! What a waste of time! We were able to add more without extending our day.”

However, some teachers are more indifferent to the schedule change, like Mr. Paul Spencer. “I generally feel favorably towards it. I have seen the schedule change so much after 24 years. After Covid, it was such a disjointed, crazy time that, to the benefit of the school, worked out quite well.”

Mr. Spencer said the changes do not bother his work. “It does not change what we do. I do not teach any differently with an eight-period day than I did a six-period day.” He spoke about how the school keeps a baseline of “Catholic High excellence” that he believes will not change because of any changes made to the school.

However, Mr. Spencer does have one problem with the eight-period school day. He said, “The thing I am always going to dislike about the eight-period day will always be not having that L2 study hall. I think that is a detriment to a lot of clubs and activities that we used to have.” Mr. Spencer mentioned the school’s choir, Schola, which is now disbanded after the loss of the study hall. “It was such an important thing, to sing Catholic music at a Catholic school at a Catholic Mass. Kids have busy schedules. It is hard to get them after school and to draw them in.”

Despite the loss, Mr. Spencer still enjoys the new classes offered at the school. “I think the more opportunities the boys here have, the better.” With the world constantly changing, Mr. Spencer said, “The boys having the ability to rub elbows with different concepts about what they could possibly go into is an important thing.”

Through all the changes after Covid, the school has persisted. Mr. Spencer said, “The thing that had always impressed me about Catholic High School, especially when Mr. Straessle became principal, was that we continue to embrace the years of the legacy that we’ve always had. But, at the same time, we’re able to break the stodginess. I am very proud of the direction the school is moving.”

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