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The Pomegranate

The Student News Site of Granada High School

The Pomegranate

The Student News Site of Granada High School

The Pomegranate

Grabbing Life by the Horns

Opinion: A Semester System Would Be Bad For Granada

Photo by Unseen Studio

On September 8, 2023, a school-wide email was sent via Principal Clark Conover alerting many that the administration is considering switching Granada from a trimester system to a semester system starting in the 2024-2025 school year. The email explained the consideration was due to many teachers and students wanting more instructional time and more time to build connections.

Not only do I not believe that there is a substantial amount of students who want semesters, but in many cases, a semester system would not help increase instructional time. A semester system would be bad for this school, and the administration should understand that there are plenty of students who are opposed to changing to semesters.

If Granada adopted a semester system, it would greatly limit the amount of different classes a student could take in a year. Instead of the school year being split into three trimesters, it would be split into two semesters. If the daily schedule stayed the same, that would allow for only 10 classes to be taken per year. Students’ schedules would mostly be composed of required classes with little room for electives. Soren Bumpus (11) feels a semester schedule would be too limiting, stating, “I don’t like the idea of semesters because you take less classes; you could take more classes and [have] far more options with trimesters.”

There are three ways the day could be structured under a semester system. They could keep the daily schedule as it is now, with five classes per day lasting 70 minutes. This schedule would reduce the amount of electives a student could take as most of the semesters would be for required classes. They might reduce the amount of classes we take to 3-4 per day with 90 minutes of instructional time. This would reduce the amount of classes available even more drastically than the first option. Lastly, they could increase the amount of classes we take per day to six or more with a class time of 50 minutes. This would achieve the opposite of their goal and decrease the amount of time with teachers as well as increase the amount of homework and finals.

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Part of the argument for this system working is that some two-trimester classes would be shortened to one trimester. But, this is also counterproductive to the stated goal of increased instructional time. One semester is shorter than two trimesters, so many two-tri classes would now have less time to teach the class material. Furthermore, the classes that are already one trimester would have to go at a snail’s pace to fill the entire semester or end up with nothing to do by the end of the semester.

Also, I do not believe that they care what students think about this change. If they did, they would have put a specific question in the survey they sent out to the school asking if we were in support of a semester system. Instead, we received a survey with many questions that were biased towards a certain outcome: a semester outcome. The survey asked several questions about a desire for more instructional time and the opportunity to build better bonds between teachers and students. Obviously, we would choose more time to comprehend the material and more opportunities to bond with teachers, answers that support a semester system. Even then, depending on how they structure the school year on a semester schedule, we do not get more instructional time or increased time with teachers.

Not one student that I have spoken to about this possible semester change has supported it. On Wednesday, September 13, 2023, the Matador Moments activity was about the possible semester system. Activities varied per classroom, but the overwhelming opinion of students was that they did not want semesters.

In Ms. Cleveland’s 3rd period, students were asked to come up with pros and cons for semesters. The consensus was that a semester schedule would reduce the amount of classes available to students while they could possibly allow for more instructional time. In Mr. Shefler’s 3rd period, the class was polled on who strongly agreed with a trimester system or who strongly agreed with a semester system. Of the 21 students polled, all 21 strongly agreed with keeping a trimester system. The common opinion is clear: we don’t want semesters.

Trinity Singley (11), expressed the opinion shared by many Granada students, “I think that the school has not been very transparent with their process…A lot of people weren’t aware this was going to happen, but then they suddenly swung it on us; the input survey wasn’t really asking ‘Do you want this?’ It didn’t give people much choice and from what I’ve heard nobody wants it in the first place.” Singley also shared how she hasn’t heard any support from any other student, “That’s one of the things it said in the email, that there was an increased desire for [instructional time] but from what I’ve heard there hasn’t been [any] desire for the new semester system.”

Finally, I don’t truly believe that the school is worried about us getting time with our teachers because there are plenty of other options besides completely changing how the school functions. You want us to focus? You want us to have more time with our teachers? Then stop interrupting our classes with rallies and other “school spirit” events. If they’re so concerned about connecting with teachers and increasing time to cover subjects, then they should take the energy they put into rallies and athletics and devote it to academics.

There is a clear solution to this problem and that is to not transfer to a semester system. A semester system would reduce the amount of classes a student could take and there’s very little support among students for the change. There are so many other things the school could do to increase the amount of instructional time before jumping to semesters; let’s try some smaller ideas before completely changing how Granada functions.

Your opinion, as a student or teacher, matters and if you would like to voice your feelings on this matter, there is a school board meeting being held on Tuesday, September 19, 2023, at 7:00 PM in the boardroom of the District Office at 685 East Jack London Boulevard.

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About the Contributor
Tyler Hayley
Tyler Hayley, Reporter and Editor
Tyler Hayley is part of the Granada High School class of 2025 and has been writing for The Pomegranate since 2021. He is a member of Model United Nations and the Workers' Rights Club at Granada. He enjoys writing short stories and reading in his spare time.

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