Since the Palo Alto Unified School District administration learned of a 2000 instructional minute deficit from the state requirement, students have been given a voice in the process to develop a new bell schedule for the upcoming school year. Verde commends principal Kim Diorio and other administrators for their efforts to take into account student views and prioritize the wellbeing of the student population.
A group of 23 students, parents and teachers have been meeting on a regular basis to participate in the Bell Schedule Review Committee. After monthly meetings, full day retreats and in-depth research, three bell schedule options were presented to students through an online survey sent out through Schoology on March 14.
According to assistant principal Vicki Kim, the survey gained over 1400 student responses, the majority of which supported continuing the C day schedule. Therefore, the BSRC proposed this option to the ed council, requesting an additional month to make minor revisions.
“I think it’s really important to remember that we are a school community and we think about the people who are invested in the journey of education,” Kim says. “Especially at the high school level, we have a very clear understanding that student voice is very relevant in all decisions that are made.”
Student members of the committee feel grateful for the opportunity to represent the student voice in a decision that will affect the community for years to come.“It’s really important for these sort of things to include students,” says David Foster, a sophomore member of the BSRC. “I’m making sure that student’s voices are heard, and that we’re advocated for. The good thing about the surveys is that we got 72 percent of the student population to respond, that’s a way to get them involved. Students have a lot of ideas about the bell schedule, because it affects them everyday.”
Even after the schedule for next school year is decided, the BSRC will most likely still hold meetings. “We will be able to use next school year to continue to learn about other schedules and other ways that we can fix the schedule to allow more creative learning,” says Vivian Feng, a sophomore member of the BSRC.
Verde looks forward to the new schedule regardless of the final decision, and applauds the administration’s decisions to allow for more student representation to discuss issues that will primarily affect them.
We encourage admin to continue offering opportunities for student input on significant decisions because students are the most impacted by changes such as that of the bell schedule and weighted vs unweighted GPA. During the meetings discussing GPA, less than 2 percent of the Paly and Gunn student population were present to advocate for their views. In the future we hope to see more student input in other aspects of campus life.
With this new potential to make a difference, Verde believes that students should not sit back and let the chance pass. Instead, we encourage students to take the initiative to participate in committees and discussions that will allow us to legitimize the student voice and help the admin make the best choice for the student populace.