BHS plans to switch to semesters

In a survey conducted by The Red n Green, faculty answered the question Do you think switching to semesters will be a struggle for students?

In a survey conducted by The Red ‘n’ Green, faculty answered the question “Do you think switching to semesters will be a struggle for students?”

Camdyn Rohde, Reporter

The final decision for BHS to switch from trimesters to semesters has been made by the high school principals and superintendent. The transition is set to take place in time for the 2021-2022 school year. Although the official schedule is still in the process of being made, Principal Bryant Bednarek has a good idea of what the day-to-day will look like. 

“We are still very much in the preliminary stages of creating a schedule. I would anticipate a 7-period day with classes being approximately 50-55 minutes each,” Bednarek said. 

According to Academic Leadership Team member Paul Bell, approximately two months ago the idea of switching from trimesters to semesters was brought to the team’s attention. The ultimate decision was not up to them, however the administrators did present them the pros and cons of both schedules. 

According to Bednarek, pros include the fact that most 2-trimester classes will now become full year classes (an increase of approximately 600 minutes throughout the course of the year) and students will no longer have “gaps” of instruction. Cons include shorter class times (approximately 16 minutes per class daily), a loss of .5 credits per year (max 7 credits versus 7.5 in trimesters), and students and staff will need to balance having seven classes per day instead of five.

The decision for this switch was made predominantly due to the overall poor academic performance of Berlin High School. According to the 2018-2019 school report card from the Department of Public Instruction, the overall score of BHS was 63.4/100. The category of “meets expectations” includes scores 63-72.9 meaning BHS just hits the mark. This is an improvement from the 2017-2018 school year where BHS met few expectations. 

“The driving factor to make the change was to ensure that our students received instruction in their core classes for the entire school year, rather than just two trimesters. With our school needing to improve in some areas academically, this was the main reason behind the change,” Bednarek said. 

With rumors already circulating for the past couple of weeks, many opinions have already been expressed. According to a random survey of 18 faculty conducted by The Red ‘n’ Green, 66.7% of BHS staff are not in favor of the switch, 16.7% are, and 16.8% are indifferent. Despite this, Bednarek says he believes that the final schedule will be something everyone can be proud of. 

“We are very much in the early stages of this process, so there is a lot to be determined and teachers are already contributing to the changes that will be taking place. With any decision that has pros and cons, some people will like the change and others won’t,” Bednarek said. “Not everyone was happy with the switch to trimesters 20 years ago either, but with time and constant evaluation and modifications I think we will have a schedule in place that we can all be proud of.”