MILLBURN, NJ — As later start times are considered for Millburn High School, the district is currently trying to figure out how to make sure student athletes do not get home at a drastically different time than they currently do.
Student athletes already come home late into the evening, depending on whether they had a game or not. Delaying the time school starts means practices and games will start later, leading to these students getting home later.
One solution is to have student athletes leave their eighth period classes early during some or all the days of the week. In order to make sure students are not missing the same class each time, the rotation schedule was proposed.
Under this schedule, Millburn High school students would undergo a four-day rotation: days A through D, during which their morning periods will change order, along with the afternoon periods. However, classes that were in the morning before the rotation remained in the morning. The same went for afternoon classes.
The schedule was developed to address other problems as well, such as always feeling tired during first period, cheating, and being stuck in a monotonous routine.
To see whether the rotation schedule would be a feasible option for the 2020-2021 school year, Millburn High School entered a trial period running from Oct. 2 to Oct. 22.
The school took measures to ensure students knew the order of classes each day. At the start of the rotation, a calendar was sent out, with each day labeled A through D. Numbers were hung in the main hallway, indicating which period would be first and which period would be after lunch.
Dr. William Miron, the High School principal, sent out an email every morning with a rhyme to remember the order of classes. Initially, Miron wrote these rhymes himself. Beginning about a week in, he asked students and faculty to submit their own rhymes.
Many of these rhymes were sent out in reminder emails each day, and everyone who was published received a free Millburn Deli sandwich.
A survey will be sent out to students in the coming weeks to evaluate the schedule’s success.
One particular concern was how the schedule change would impact the freshmen, who were still adjusting to the high school.
“The change in scheduling every single day was very confusing to me," Freshman Meher Harjani said. "As I didn’t know my way around the school already, having changing periods didn't help with that at all.
"I was unable to plan my homework for the next day properly because i have my drop period one on Thursdays, and since period 1 changed every day, I had to plan out my schedule the night before.”
The schedule did work for some students, such as junior, Prisha Mehta, who said; “I actually didn’t mind it as much as I thought I would.”
And senior Mikayla Barber, said; “my favorite part of the rotation is the switching of the order of morning classes, as I no longer feel extremely tired in the same first classes, so I can actually feel more awake and alert for different classes everyday."
As of press time, it is still not clear whether the rotation schedule will be implemented for the 2020/2021 school year. Whether the district delays high school starting times or not, the schedule is under consideration for its other benefits.
Millburn Middle School is also undergoing its own version of the rotation schedule trial. It remains to be seen what sort of impact the schedule will have there.