Naperville Central and North move forward with new second semester schedule

Claire Yung, Profiles Editor & Social Media Editor

Naperville Central and North are implementing nine period schedules on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting second semester. Central will call the new period S.O.A.R., success of all Redhawks, while North will call the new period Husky Homeroom.

The new period can be designated as either a support or a homeroom period. During a support period, students will be able to receive help from teachers or make up work. Jackie Thornton, Assistant Principal for Curriculum at Central, says the support period is like independent days in a blended class.

“If you have a class where you aren’t performing at the level that’s expected, there may be circumstances that you’re required to go to a certain place during that time,” she said. “But most of our students won’t be required to go to a certain place.”

The new period may also be used to build a sense of community and for activities such as emergency drills. These periods will be called homeroom and classes will consist of around 25 alphabetically sorted students and two to three faculty members. 

“My goal at the end of the end of first semester would be that I could ask any student at Naperville Central, ‘who is your go to person?’ and they would be able to say [someone],” Thornton said. “We’re trying to have instructors that every kid will know. I’m calling it a community of care.”

Communication arts teacher Barry Baldwin shares Thornton’s enthusiasm about the chance to get to know students.

“I like the fact that they’re going to put me with a senior group, and then next year freshman, and I will go out with those freshmen [as I retire,]” Baldwin said. “The [administration] is really thinking of everything. I think it’s good that we get to partner with another staff member and I’m excited to see students grow from freshman year to senior year.” 

The different S.O.A.R. periods can be on either day, but as the school first transitions to the change, Tuesdays and Thursdays will be used as a homeroom period. As the semester progresses, the school will have the flexibility to decide what each day will be.

S.O.A.R. is a part of an improvement plan that began five years ago focused on helping every student earn a C or above. The improvement plan also involved teacher meetings and subsequent continued visits to other schools with similar programs.

“We took what we’ve learned from other schools that are implementing it and are doing it well, and then we crafted what we thought was ideal for Naperville Central,” Thornton said. “We don’t necessarily think that January is going to be the ideal, because once we implement it we’re going to learn from that and continue to make adjustments. ”

The newest contract between District 203 and the Naperville Unit Education Association limits S.O.A.R. periods to twice a week, so Central will have three different schedules each week, possibly confusing students, teachers and parents.

“Part of me wonders if it is better just to have four days of S.O.A.R. and then our Wednesday schedule,” Baldwin said. “But I have faith in the students that they can figure it out and I know the staff can figure it out. ”

To keep the school day the same length as before, periods will be 45 minutes long instead of the usual 50 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday. 

“The reason we aren’t concerned about the loss of instructional minutes is that we feel like we’re already taking those instructional minutes,” Thornton said.

Instead of pulling instructional minutes from classes and having special schedules to accommodate activities such as fire drills or ALICE training, Central utilized homeroom periods. 

“I’m excited to be where we’re able to get to the students that need help,” Baldwin said. “And I give the administration credit for that, Miss. Thornton really, a lot of credit for that, she’s found a way to get this done and it’s taken years of work on her part to get this stuff done”