Central set to implement nine period schedule two days a week starting 2022

Cameron Rozek and Nathan Yuan

Naperville Central will start following a nine period schedule on Tuesdays and Thursdays  starting the second semester of the 2021-2022 school year. The change comes after the District 203 Board of Education signed a new four-year contract with the Naperville Unit Education Association, which includes the implementation of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS). 

The new NUEA contract changed the definition of a school day. Previous contracts defined the high school day as five teaching periods and half of a supervision period. In the new contract, the new constraint is 1,250 minutes of teaching per week. 

 “Instead of having eight 50 minute periods, we would have nine 45 minute periods, so that they’re all the same.” Thornton said. 

This change means that the definition of a school day is no longer limited to a certain number of periods of instruction, which builds flexibility into the schedule.

“I don’t believe that every student learns at the same rate,” Thornton said. “We don’t have that many details, but I think it gives teachers and students flexibility within their day to get their needs met.”

These extra periods will be called S.O.A.R. periods and will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Mondays, late arrival Wednesdays and Fridays will remain on the current schedule. 

On Tuesdays, S.O.A.R. will serve as a homeroom period, functioning like extended second period Wednesdays. Students and teachers will spend this period on administrative activities such as filling out surveys and emergency drills.

On Thursdays, students will spend S.O.A.R. as a blended-like independent study period. Students will be allowed to spend the time on, among other things, extra one-on-one help with instructors, enrichment, independent study, club meetings, fitness and post-graduate planning.

This new schedule also means that there will be three different schedules a week, possibly impacting class plans and causing general confusion.

“We do have to work out how we are going to communicate,” Thornton said. “I’m sure there’s gonna be a lot of different ways that we’re announcing that this is where we’re going and making sure that kids [adjust].”

Overall, however, teachers seem to welcome this new change.

“I like the idea I think that can be really beneficial and helpful for students,” AP Physics 1 and C teacher Hans Muehsler said. “Though I guess it would have been nice to have [S.O.A.R.] four days a week, mostly so that way we can also cover [enrichment] topics.”

This new schedule is also subject to change, and the NUEA contract allows for adjustments every semester.

 “I don’t think this is going to be our long term solution,” Thornton said. “I do think it is a first step. I think we’re gonna learn a lot from the initial implementation, and based on what we learned, we’ll make decisions for next fall.”

Furthermore, while this new schedule will allow students more time for schoolwork, they will not be allowed to take another class.

“The school day for kids is defined as a maximum of seven periods,” Thornton said. “The amount of classes you can select is defined through the course process.”