New Academic Schedule Has Fans and Foes

Drew Donatello ’25 (left) and Jack Spiegel ’24 study the new schedule posted in the school’s lobby (Photo: Mr. John Spear).

As the 2023-2024 school year has commenced, returning students are adjusting to a new academic schedule, and the diverse opinions are causing major debates on campus. The school year has only just begun, so students and faculty are still yet to see how this schedule plays out when travel for sports becomes hectic. Mrs. Carmichael plays an influential role every year in the modification of the schedule, she expressed, “We tend to change our schedule each year. It is an annual thing to tweak it and make it better. Around here it’s a pretty regular thing.” The annual schedule modifications always creates a debate at the start of every school year.

The major change in the new schedule is the return of classes on Fridays. Last year, Northwood decided to remove Friday classes for the first time because athletes were often absent due to travel and Friday classes were regularly half-empty. Mrs. Carmichael said, “The Friday schedule was very chaotic and was exceedingly difficult for non-student athletes, which is about 20% of our population. We did some further analysis on when teams travel and found that it was common for teams to leave earlier in the week than Friday, which didn’t make sense for the schedule.”

“I thought no Friday class last year was perfect for athletes,” said Lokoah Paye ’25, a soccer player. “Having no class meant I didn’t fall behind at all and on free weekends it gave me time to get ahead.”

Not everyone agrees. “Friday classes are important,” argued Sachiel Ming ’23, a teammate of Paye’s. “Missing a day of class each week will compound and put us at a disadvantage for big assessments like the AP exams. It can be challenging at times to manage class and travel, but I strongly believe it is better for the Northwood community. Friday class is normal everywhere else in the world, so hearing returning students complain about it is almost absurd. It is still early in the year, but the schedule has been fine.”

Another interesting change to the schedule is the addition of the lab blocks for math, writing, and science. This year, there are labs on Tuesdays from 9:50 to 11:30 a.m. and from 12:35 to 1:55 p.m. Students can use these lab times to meet with teachers and catch up or get ahead on work. Science teachers will also hold practical lab sessions every second week during these periods. This allows teachers to dive into more detail with their lab teachings because of the longer allotment of time. A normal 45-minute class doesn’t allow students to experience a professional lab experience.

Ming appreciates the Tuesday labs. “I like this change to the schedule because these labs act as a Flex class, which is extremely beneficial during the busy parts of the season,” he said. Some students have observed that the lab change almost seems as if it is a solution to traveling athletes missing Friday classes.

Initial reviews of science labs have been positive. “The science lab was really great last Tuesday. I felt I learned a lot more and enjoyed the lab a lot more than previous years,” added Noah Moodey ’25.

Faculty have also had their opinions on the new schedule, Mrs. Carmichael said, “I can tell you for a fact that the math and science departments are very happy. As with anything, there are a variety of opinions especially within the faculty, but so far, I haven’t received any complaints.”

All returning students have an opinion and are talking about the new schedule change. Even if they don’t love the schedule change, there seems to be a lot of optimism about the new school year. The school community will soon find out if the new schedule is more sustainable than the popular “no Friday” class schedule.


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