By Isa Thornber
This 2022-23 school year, Littleton Public Schools has made changes to lunch and finals week schedules. This transition has caught the attention of both students and staff, and as the second semester begins, the school body anticipates the further results of the modification.
Assistant Superintendent of Learning Services for LPS, Melissa Cooper, has shared the communication the LPS board sent out to high school students and families, which states, “All three of our comprehensive high schools had schedules that fell below the state required minimum for instructional minutes. Board policy, IC/ICA, did not reflect our current and historical practice of including passing periods in the instructional minute count. The Board of Education approved a revised policy that reflects this practice at their meeting on August 11.”
The revised policy to accommodate instructional minutes has eliminated the transition period before lunch, and has introduced a finals week schedule with classes in the morning and finals in the afternoon. The official communication states “…students will experience a slightly shorter lunch period and will attend full days during ‘finals week’ at the end of each semester.”
This change to the lunch schedule means that students have a total of 30 minutes to leave their class, either wait in line for school lunch or to go out for food, and then to eat before their next class begins. While some teachers are accommodating to this, some do not allow food in their classes, further restricting students. This also means that if students choose to leave campus to get lunch, they have a significant chance of being tardy for their next class. Heritage students are being forced to consider the consequences of their options; leaving campus could result in a tardy, but choosing to stay on campus means waiting in line for a less sufficient lunch. The five minute transition period before lunch of years prior could make a difference in an upperclassman driving safely, or a student being able to properly sustain themself for the rest of their school day.
The second change to seat time has taken place within the finals week schedule. Many students are extremely inconvenienced by the new schedule. Littleton Public Schools offers concurrent enrollment (CE) classes to seniors, a program in which a student will leave campus and attend an outside program where they work to receive licensure in a certain area. These include auto tech, esthetics, cosmetology, and more.
Sarah Norman, ’23, is working towards her estheticians license. Norman attends one class and lunch each school day, and the rest of her school hours are spent at an esthetics program. For Norman, and others in CE, this year’s finals week schedule interferes with their programs. These students are forced to schedule time outside of the scheduled periods for finals to make up their tests. “I think the scheduling for finals is unfair and inconvenient for students who are enrolled into any CE program. It’s a waste of their time when they have to be at a different program throughout the day,” states Norman.
The changes to this year’s schedules have created dissatisfaction within the Heritage student body, as well as put teachers into an unknown position of creating a lesson plan for the period before their final. While students and most staff members do not know the specific behind-the-scenes of the board meetings, other options are available to be considered by all who are impacted. The communication from the board makes a point that “there is no change to the start or end time of the school day… There is no change to the school calendar.” There may be implications to these other options, but consideration of all possibilities is important in creating a schedule which most thoroughly fulfills the needs of all those involved.