With the start of the second semester of the 2020-2021 school year Bullard High School made numerous changes to the bell schedule. Periods were lengthened by 15 minutes, breaks in between class were increased to 20 minutes, and a 50 minute lunch break was added in between the second and the third period of the day. Additionally, Mondays now consist of a 30 minute advisory class, with the remainder of the day being dedicated to independent student learning. This schedule leaves significantly less instructional time in the week and makes it more difficult for students to cover the necessary curriculum.
The current schedule adds a total of 45 additional minutes of instruction each school day, which adds up to a total of 3 hours of additional instruction each week. This is supposed to make up for the 3 hours of class on Mondays that students no longer have, but in practice the new schedule does not accomplish this. The 3 hours of class time on the new schedule is in small 15 minute chunks, which does not give enough time for teachers to cover any new subjects or make meaningful changes to the way they teach their class.
The new advisory period on Monday is pointless. It does not cover anything useful and serves more as an announcement period for extracurricular activities. Beyond that, the 4 hours of independent study are not useful. Teachers give short assignments or regular length assignments with long due dates, and students certainly do not get 4 hours of education out of the schedule.
There is an argument to be made in favor of the new schedule. Studies have shown that people perform best with roughly one hour work periods separated by about 20 minute breaks. Breaks give students an opportunity to refresh their motivation, and can help prevent the physical strain that sitting down for long hours can cause. However, administration could have added these breaks to the first semester schedule, and left out the other changes they made.
Overall, the current bell schedule does more harm than good. It makes it more difficult for teachers to get through the required material, and leaves students with less instructional time they could use to further their understanding.