Renovation complicates Z-block classes


Rosa Caramazza

Concert Band teacher Carolyn Castellano works with students. The Z-block course is one of several affected by the OLS campus.

Confusion. Disorientation. Judgments. With change comes confusion, and that leads to differences of opinions. With a new schedule in place at the high school, students and teachers are attempting to wrap their heads around the new changes that are set in place.
Due to the construction on the main building at 115 Greenough, the freshmen have to travel to the Old Lincoln School most days. Class times have changed for Z-block, and freshmen travel times affect the amount of class time they get.
Concert Band and Music Production teacher Carolyn Castellano said that time was lost in her Z-block class. She calculated the time difference from last year and found out that Z-block classes meet 25 minutes less.
“Last year with the schedule Z-block added up to 450 minutes for a two week period. And now with the new schedule, Z-block is only 425 minutes for two weeks,” Castellano said. “And if they’re a ninth grader, on Week A, they start over in OLS. So that means that they’re missing an additional 45 minutes of that.”
Concert Band student and freshman Lancia Carson explained that some teachers let students out early from classes. The freshmen have been split into two cohorts, Blue and Red, and on some days the Red Cohort starts at OLS and other days the Blue Cohort starts at 115 Greenough.
All classes excluding Z-block are continuing to meet for the same amount as last year during the new schedule.
“A systemic problem right away is that every other class still has the same amount of time. All the other blocks have a similar amount of time eover the two weeks,” Castellano said. “But Z-block, we lost time and they made it so that the ninth graders can’t be here for one of them.”
Morning Z-block Latin and Spanish teacher Lennon Audrain said that he only sees his Z-Block classes two times in a week.
“We’ve been trying to work on this grammatical topic in Latin and I saw my classes on Monday, and then I saw them again Thursday, and I didn’t see them again until Tuesday,” Audrain said. “So how do you reconcile with these three day chunks where I haven’t seen them?”
Audrain said that if he were teaching Latin not as a Z-block class, he would be upset if he only saw his students three times a week, because he would feel like he wouldn’t be able to do anything.
Sophomore and Orchestra student Lili Hyde feels differently about how frequent her Z-block class meets.
“I wish it wasn’t as frequent because it is really hard to get up early, and if you have to walk to school, it’s like another 30 minutes earlier. Also I feel like school should just be pushed back an hour. So Z-block starts at regular school time and we just end an hour later because it’s really hard to get up early,” Hyde said.
However, it is possible the problem may be exacerbated by the coming season. As winter approaches, the temperature will drop and make the walk from the Old Lincoln School to 115 Greenough more laborious.
“As we approach the winter months, I am guessing it will become harder, as our walk from school to school will be very cold,” Carson said.
Waking up early and being at school is an experience that Audrain can sympathize with.
“If you wake up at 6:45 and you live near the school, you’ve only been up for less than an hour by the time you arrive at Z-block,” Audrain said. “To think literal minutes ago you were in your bed sleeping, you can’t have a crazy Latin teacher screaming in your face about anything. I know its hard because I’m a morning person, and high schoolers are not morning people.”
Castellano feels that the new schedule’s times do not cater toward all students management abilities.
“I feel like this schedule doesn’t address that there’s a lot of kids that really need the four times a week to meet because they’re still developing their organizational skills. But if you’re a kid that is really good at organization, then you’re probably okay with the less meeting times a week,” Castellano said.
Despite not working at the highschool last year, Audrain was aware of how the schedule used to work.
“I know there’s a lot of factors that play into it, but I know that last year the schedule was pretty consistent. It just repeated each week rather than the 10-day cycle. I think I would rather have it just weekly but otherwise I’m okay with it,” Audrain said.
Castellano is hopeful that feedback from teachers about the new schedule will be heard, but for the mean time she is making the best of the new schedule.
“This is what we have,” Castellano said. “We’re gonna do the best we can.”