Fossil Ridge releases new class schedule in wake of start time change

The new schedule was included in the Fossil Ridge January newsletter.

Fossil Ridge High School

The new schedule was included in the Fossil Ridge January newsletter.

Liam H. Flake

On Wednesday, January 9, Fossil Ridge High School released its class schedule for the 2019-2020 school year in its monthly newsletter to the community. The new schedule was created in response to Poudre School District’s change in start times in the coming school year, which will shift high school start and end times to an hour and a half later. Notable changes in the schedule included the removal of late start, more classes after lunch, and a shift from “odd” and “even” days to “black” and “green” days. These will have classes progress sequentially over the course of the week, and “extended learning opportunity” time will be introduced.

Among the changes to the schedule, one peculiar detail was the shift of third period to being between fifth and sixth period. Though this seems to defy apparent logic, there is a strong reason for this decision, explained Dr. Julie Chaplain, the principal of Fossil Ridge. “We have students that take classes at Front Range or CSU,” Chaplain explained, “so it’s important for all of our morning classes to be the same on every day of the week.” This sequence of classes will ensure that periods one, two, four, and five, and six are before lunch each day, allowing ease for students that may need to travel off campus. “Kids are going to want to think of it as morning and afternoon classes,” Chaplain offered.

The upcoming change in school start times was met with initial criticism when announced due to a few key impacts in student and staff life. One prominent issue created was the impediment to student jobs due to later release times. However, this obstacle was accommodated in the development of the new schedule with the revised order of classes. “We did that sequential order so that students who are working could have a good chunk of time to take off,” Chaplain stated. The setup allows for a larger amount of time at the end of the day that can be utilized for student jobs. “On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, they could take sixth and seventh off and have a nice chunk to work if they wanted to.”

With other issues, however, staff and students will just have to adjust to the changes. Clubs and sports, for example, will simply have to move back with the schedule. “Extracurriculars will unfortunately have to start at 4:00,” Chaplain provided. “I don’t think there’s another option.” She also explained, however, that some extracurriculars, such as theatre, were working to build time into the school day with a class to alleviate time after school. “We’re looking to build things in as much as we can.”

Additionally, the schedule provides no accommodations for child care of elementary level students, who will end at an earlier time than high school students and teachers, though Chaplain offered potential solutions. “It will kind of flip, because elementary used to start later, so they’d have child care that they’d have to get in the morning sometimes,” she explained. Programs, such as BASE Camp, offer child care at elementary schools before and after school. “They’re going to have to look at more BASE Camp after school than they have before,” Chaplain stated, referring to parents of elementary students.

Though some students were interested in the prospect of alleviating the impact of the start time change with the use of “zero periods” before school, Chaplain stated that these periods were not planned to be abundant. “We’re not going to just make a whole load of zero period classes,” Chaplain provided. “That’s not the intent. It would defeat the point of moving the start times back.” Zero periods will be offered from 7:35-8:50 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
A unique element that remains in development for the schedule of the coming year is the mysterious “extended learning opportunity” period presented on Tuesday afternoons. With the removal of late start, this period was added to offset Advisory, which takes place only once a week. What exactly this time will look like, however, remains up in the air. “The idea behind it is that it’s more time for kids to work with teachers or get more help on whatever they need,” Chaplain stated. The period will begin with attendance, likely with one’s advisory teacher, but the structure of the period offers endless possibilities. “We’re trying to build in more time for kids to work with teachers and get support if they want it,” Chaplain added. Advisory and Extended Learning Opportunity were placed at the end of school on Tuesday and Thursday in order to alleviate the impact of student absences due to field trips, competitions, and athletics.

More specifics on the details of the class schedule and other changes to school life in light of the start time change will be announced on Etched in Stone as information is released.