‘B’ Day Barrage – Behind the Recent Scheduling Fiasco

Sophie Bauer

There’s only one way to remedy falling behind in classes; falling behind in all the other ones, too.  This is what happened when a blink of the eye decision plopped two B days into the midst of an A/B schedule at the end of last week in response to a B day shortage during the shortest month of the year. 

The days, February 22nd and 23rd, were supposed to be a solution to the drastic lack of B days in the shortest month of the year.

But the B days, while definitely beneficial to students who had been missing time in their B day classes, failed to take into account that students in A day classes couldn’t afford to fall behind either.

And the worst part was, there were a lot more ideal ways to fix the schedule than the one that was implemented. 

On the first of Highland’s two consecutive B days, everything seemed normal. Nothing out of the ordinary happened, and classes carried on as they usually would. In fact, it wouldn’t be noticeable that something was wrong with the arrangement until the second day started.

That was when things got problematic.

“Having two of the same day in a row in a schedule that’s designed to be every other day is going to throw everyone off just a hair.” Says Jonathan Lambert, a host of Highland’s ‘daily’ news show, HTVS — ‘daily’ in the sense that it airs every other day, on B days.

HTVS would be just one of the classes that the new scheduling change affected, but it was one of the worst examples of the havoc that throwing a wrench in the system could wreak.

“A lot of times the amount of content we have is fairly limited anyway,” Lambert explains, “Because we had two broadcasts in a row, we had nothing to use.”

The observation is especially prevalent during the winter months. Highland is an active, thriving community, but even the most active, thriving communities have down times; and even the most active, thriving communities don’t have a million things going on every day.

The problem is compounded by the winter, which situates Highland between the two major sports seasons of the year, near-eliminating the sports content that HTVS can use in their broadcasts.

And while segments like the inventive ‘Weird Teacher Stories’ are fun and interesting, HTVS can’t air these too close together. They have to keep their audience engaged with new stories- much like the Rambler itself does.

HTVS and similar Highland ventures were designed to work based on a system that allowed at least one day between the same classes. They can’t operate when that schedule is impeded.

But ignoring all of that, it’s important to examine the problem that this district fix was actually supposed to address. A lack of B days in February. There were only seven B days this month, compared to nine A days, and that was before the junior ACT, which would originally have been followed by two A days in a row.

Needless to say, there was definitely a situation that needed to be fixed here. Unfortunately, the district failed to take into account the integral role that having A and B days served. Apart from constraints on content in relation to time, assignment flow could have been interrupted.

After all, by having two B days in a row at the end of the week, they essentially pushed back the entire calendar schedule by a day, which could cause confusion for teachers who had projects due on certain future ‘guaranteed’ A or B days. Plus, it took time away from A day classes, which may have perpetuated the cycle of falling behind.

In truth, there was no perfect solution here. The district did what they could with what they had, and what they had wasn’t ideal. Filled with testing, college prep, and an unexpected snow day on top of it, it’s no wonder that the schedule went through some turmoil.

But it could’ve been handled in a better way. 

Classes could have resumed the traditional alternating pattern after the ACT.  If classes on B days had to assign a little more homework, students could pick up that slack, maybe get a couple days to do it taking into account the nature of the more strenuous than usual workload. This would probably have been the easiest way to deal with the issue.

If two B days were really necessary, a better solution would be to separate the B days by a two day weekend, eliminating the problem of running out of content that classes like HTVS had.

Regardless of what solution would have worked best given the circumstances, there is one thing that everyone can agree on: There’s one way to solve this problem that absolutely doesn’t work, and having experienced it once, measures need to be taken to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.