New schedules anticipated for next school year


Mary Griffis

School administrators are considering changes to the bell schedule as well as the A-B day schedule to accommodate the new Student Sharing program.

Bradley Barto, Opinions Editor

Plans are afoot that would not only push back the school day start- and end-times by 10 minutes, but also scrap the current alternating A-B-Day calendar Akins has operated under for about ten years.

If things go as planned this summer, school will start at 9 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m. each day at Akins and all of the other South Austin high schools. Also, Mondays and Wednesdays would be designated as A-Days, Tuesdays and Thursdays would be set as B-Days and Fridays would alternate between A or B days every week.

The changes are the result of new education laws that are forcing school districts to change the way they operate. One reason for starting five minutes later is to comply with a new state law that sets a required number of minutes of instructional time students must attend rather than the old 180-day standard.

The change is designed to allow school districts more flexibility in designing their school year calendars so they don’t have to build in bad-weather make-up days. By counting instructional time by minutes instead of days, if a school needs to make up missed time, they can add minutes to a school day instead of adding more days to the school calendar.

“The new bell schedule allows us to not have to add extra days to make up weather days, this could make us able to have a more flexible schedule” Associate Principal Manuel Garcia said.

Akins students won’t notice any changes in the overall amount of time spent at school each day because administrators lengthened the school day by 10 minutes this year in anticipation of the new “Student Sharing” program, which is the other major cause for the schedule changes. Student Sharing is an initiative designed to allow students to take certain Career and Technology courses at nearby high schools if their home campus does not offer that program.

The program will require all South Austin high schools to follow the same bell schedule so that students can ride buses after their first classes of the day to travel back to their home campuses after attending CTE courses at other schools. Students who participate in this program will be traveling during advisory or Flexible Instruction Time class periods that were added for every day of the week at Akins this year.

Students who attend Akins, Bowie, Crockett, Eastside Memorial and Travis high schools will be able to take certain courses at these campuses if their desired CTE program is not offered at their home campuses. These South Austin high schools will all have to operate on the same bell schedule to accommodate this program, which is currently already in place at the North Austin high schools such as Anderson, McCallum and Reagan.

Health Science teacher Juanita Soto said she is looking forward to possibly having Mondays through Thursdays on the same A-B day schedule.

“For our program it’s a better thing, the days are set and the hospitals are easier to plan with,” she said. “I really think that this will help us a lot.”

Because there are so many campuses involved, the proposed bell schedule is still not completely finalized because various school administrators still need to review and approve it.

The proposed bell schedule would not affect the length of the passing periods or lunch. The passing periods would stay as 5-minutes long and lunch would remain 35 minutes long, Garcia said.

Sophomore Lucas Montgomery said the new schedule sounds more complicated because of the interchangeable day on Friday, but could be a good thing if it allows students to have new Career and Technology course opportunities.

“I feel like having two of the same classes in a row every other week, could make things a bit more stressful. The other parts of the new schedule, could help kids go into the careers that they would like to go into.”