7-period day detrimental to McIntosh students

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Citizen-Letters-2

I am a student at McIntosh High School and a six-period day works for me. After reading Mrs. Marion Key’s letter to the editor (The Citizen, Nov. 6 and Dec. 5, 2018) regarding the seven-period day, I felt the need to learn more about the transition, since I will be entering my senior year. Mrs. Key is a former teacher and member of the Fayette County School Board, so the fact that she reached out to give her negative opinion on the idea was interesting to me.

McIntosh’s new principal, Dr. Dan Lane, held a meeting for students and parents regarding the change to a seven-period day on Nov. 15. During the meeting, he shared a Powerpoint with those attending regarding the “issues” of a six-period day. He said that there are more of these so called “issues” with the current schedule than positives.

One aspect of the Powerpoint that particularly caught my eye was a bullet point saying that in a six-period day there is a “lack of professional learning time.”

He is using teachers’ learning time as an issue for our six-period days, but by giving us a seven-period day next year, we will lose 10 minutes in every class. Teachers will have more planning time but overall less time to teach the content to us. If they have less time to teach us, how is that beneficial to the students at all?

That is not even mentioning that students will have an extra class to worry about. We, as students, will have more homework, an extra class to worry about, and less learning time in our classes.

To think that by taking away class time and giving us an extra class to worry about is going to help the students’ learning is ridiculous. If the teachers need more “professional learning time,” they should be given an extra planning period to do it while on a six-period day, not a seven-period day that takes students learning time away.

This also raises the question, is McIntosh focused on the excellence of its students, or is it focused on making the Fayette County School Board happy?

Following the discussion of “issues,” Lane did go on to say that there was no perfect high school schedule. He shared other high schools with different kinds of schedules: block, six period, and seven period.

Lane then went on to discuss that the seven-period schedule will open more opportunities and choices for the student body, basically saying that it will help students pick another elective to participate in, as well as help students that are in need of credit recovery.

That all sounds fine and dandy, but to be realistic, students are not going to take that opportunity to take interesting electives. Not to say none, I am sure some will, but the majority of McIntosh students will see it as an opportunity for an additional rigorous class. McIntosh is notorious for having outstanding students that want to take hard classes and boost themselves to a higher level of rigor for college.

I would be shocked to see students take interest in easy electives rather than AP classes or languages that will look more impressive on their transcripts for college.

Lastly, the school has decided that juniors and seniors may exempt a seventh period, but only if the student has an overall 90 unweighted GPA as of the end of the fall semester for the upcoming year.

This is also ridiculous. McIntosh is very rigorous and it almost seems as though the kids that take the harder classes are being punished. To think that students who have taken multiple AP, gifted, and accelerated classes have an overall GPA of at least a 90 is a long shot.

Those who take harder classes will have a harder time meeting that requirement. That is the reality of it. The kids who take easy classes will exempt, and those who don’t will not have the opportunity to. The kids that can’t exempt will take more difficult classes and drown in school work even more than they already are.

This new schedule will hurt the school. The students are already stressed, so why add to that? Students go home to spend hours studying and doing homework; we don’t have time to worry about an extra class on our schedule. If anything, the extra class is going to add to the stress of students, not make it better.

McIntosh High School should want to prepare us for the future, not make us anxious for it.

Samantha Cornett
Peachtree City, Ga.

[Cornett, a junior, is sports editor of the McIntosh Trail student newspaper.]