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Next Year: New Schedule, New Academies

Leila Pierpont, Author

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Change is coming to Santa Fe High.

Next year, 2018-2019, Santa Fe High students will have eight classes. On Mondays, we will have all eight classes for short periods, and the rest of the week will alternate between odd and even classes.

One of those classes will be a study hall/advisory period. Assistant Principal Mr. Mutz, one of the people in charge of the new schedule, says this change is for students who are “extremely involved in school” to give them time to do their homework. He explains that many students who take several AP classes, play sports, or are involved in other extracurricular activities might not get home until 9 p.m., so the idea is to give students a chance to stay on top of their homework so they can better manage their time and reduce their stress.

Another reason Mr. Mutz mentioned is that since some students do not have a computer or access to WiFi at their home, this new schedule will give them the opportunity to complete online assignments.

Although this seems like a great idea on paper, one of the worries is that people will waste this study hall period and not do schoolwork during this time. “This can either be a huge success, or a major flop,” Mr. Mutz said. “Next year we will try out the new schedule, and if we don’t have many behavior problems, we will continue it.”

The second big change coming to Santa Fe High are the new academies. Instead of academies being based on the electives a student chooses, the academies next year will be based on the students’ required classes.

The academies are meant to appeal to different students’ learning styles and future goals, such as what they want their career to be. Mr. Mutz says the new format will divide Santa Fe High into four smaller, more manageable groups of like-minded students.

The STRIVE academy is pointed toward students who want to be on a competitive AP course path. Classes in these academies will be conducted like college classes, with lecturing, a fair amount of homework, and group projects. This academy is led by Mr. Eadie and Mr. Caldwell, both experienced AP teachers.

Students whose choose the Innovate Academy, led by Mr. Morrison and Mr. O’Neil, should expect more hands-on, collaborative learning styles with a focus on STEM. This academy is designed for people who think outside the box, and maybe want to become entrepreneurs. Students who do not like learning in a regular classroom setting may consider this academy.

The BUILD IT! Academy is targeted toward students who like project-based learning and are considering going to trade school. This academy focuses on hands-on learning and will attempt to deliver instruction through that. This academy is also opening up some classes at ECO for SFHS students, and vice versa.

The final academy, RISE, is focused on creating a well-rounded student. This academy will provide clubs and community service opportunities so that students can pursue their interests, learn more about themselves, and improve their resumes. This academy is led by Ms. Hogan.

All of these academies are being introduced in the fall, so without any data to go on, we do not know how this new structure will change the school. The hope is that these academies will make students more focused on their goals and on their schoolwork, as well as make the large number of students more manageable. It should allow for students to get more help and support if and when they need it, and hopefully make the smaller groups feel more united.

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