Modified schedule creates new opportunities

The Newtonite

[media-credit name=”Nina Kaplan” align=”alignright” width=”300″] Students in AP Chinese work on an in-class assignment. The modified schedule allows South students to cross-register in A-block classes, such as AP Chinese.
by Gloria Li
“If Newton North hadn’t allowed us to take classes there then I would not have been able to continue taking Chinese this year, so I enjoy this new opportunity,” said South senior Jenny Kaufman, who takes Advanced Placement Chinese at this school.
This year, with the implementation of the modified schedule, in which Tuesdays begin with B-block and Wednesdays begin with A-block, students at South can cross-enroll at this school for certain A-block courses.
Currently, 35 students from South are enrolled in classes at this school, according to principal Jennifer Price. These students take classes ranging from career and technology education to AP Chinese to AP European History.
This year, students at this school cannot cross-enroll at South. However, in the coming years, “the hope is that, as this cross-enrollment initiative expands, students from here will be able go to South as well,” she said.
These classes would not have run at South due to lack of enrollment. “The new schedule has really facilitated new opportunities for students,” Price said.
Kaufman said, “I am very thankful to be able to take the course.”
While Chinese teacher Bin Zhu said he believes the new schedule is excellent and has increased the number of students in his course. He noted that attendance issues have arisen with the double-enrolled students.
Zhu said that some South students remain unable to attend his class on certain days because the schedules of South and this school, despite efforts, do not align on certain days.
For example, on the Thursday, Oct. 4 early release, South students could not attend their A-block Chinese course because the South schedule had all seven classes, each for 20 minutes. At this school, there were only three blocks, all of which lasted for their usual length.
Additionally, Zhu said he regrets that the five South seniors in his class cannot come for extra help during their free blocks or during X-blocks.
To solve this problem, Zhu said he spoke with a Chinese teacher at South to whom he “made the suggestion that she help the students with their accents and dialects during J-blocks.” J-blocks are South’s version of X-blocks.
History teacher Gregory Drake, who teaches AP European History, plans to use a different approach to give his students from South the same extra help opportunities his other students have.
“I am going to drive over to South once a week during the second half of the year, as we approach the exam date, to give extra help to students during J-blocks,” he said.
Drake said he believes that, despite small problems, the schedule change has added “a great new aspect to the school system because students from this school are now exposed to fresh, new perspectives from students from another part of town.”