New school year brings changes to Pride Period

By Natalie Adams

With the start of the new school year, students learned of a new change to the typical Arundel High schedule: Monday advisory. Now, instead of choosing a location for Pride Period, students are required to remain in their first period class on Mondays. The changes made to the schedule last year–pushing back the start time by 13 minutes from 7:17 a.m. to 7:30 a.m., shortening Pride from one hour between second and third period to half an hour between first and second period, and adding A, B, and C lunch during third period–remain the same with the exception of Monday advisory during Pride.

This year, instead of having a 30 minute period for club meetings and getting extra help from teachers, students will stay in their first period class for Pride. It is somewhat reminiscent of CATS Class–a small amount of time in between first and second period for creating a weekly Pride Period schedule and receiving grade sheets–from four years ago, which occurred on Mondays.

Even though the first official advisory period does not start until Monday, September 17, some upperclassmen have expressed dissatisfaction with the change.

When asked what he thought of this year’s Pride Period schedule, Elijah Melendez, a freshman, said, “It’s cool.” He believes having an advisory period on Mondays will help him to stay organized and that it is a good idea to have a day to plan for the rest of the week.

But not all students at Arundel share his views. One Senior, Audrey Finch, said, “I like it better than two years ago.” She felt that having one hour between second and third period, when students would have to switch locations halfway through, and certain teachers were only open at limited times on specific days, was too chaotic and confusing. However, in regards to this year’s advisory period, she stated, “I don’t like the Monday part. I think it’s important to see teachers everyday if you need to.” With the addition of Monday advisory, students have a day taken away from them that could be used for club meetings and getting extra help from teachers.

Another change is that of locations available to students during Pride for the rest of the week. This year there is no cafeteria, auditorium, or courtyards. To this Finch said, “I don’t know why the cafeteria isn’t open.” She theorizes that the reduction of the cafeteria as a Pride Period location will actually force more students into the hallways. She thinks it was beneficial to have the cafeteria as a place to corral wandering students, but now more students will not go anywhere at all because there is not a specific teacher they want to see.

When asked what prompted the change in the Pride Period schedule, Ms. Davenport stated, “We really wanted to have the opportunity to do some character education.” She also said that the new advisory period is “exactly like CATS Class four years ago,” with the exception of which advisors students have. CATS Class was based on student’s last name and grade, but now, “instead of sending [students] to an advisory based on alphabet, we decided to do it with [students’] first period class, hoping that [they] already have a relationship with that teacher or the students in that class.”

Remaining in first period for advisory will probably prevent students from skipping it as they have done in the past. That was one issue with the old schedule, and a reason why the administration decided to remove CATS, Ms. Davenport commented.

Also, Ms. Davenport hopes that by keeping the cafeteria, courtyards, and auditorium closed to students during Pride, they will become more productive. She said, “I want people to be in a classroom, I want them to be doing something productive, I want them to be participating in a club or I want them to be interacting with a teacher, and I want everybody to be supervised.” In addition, the cafeteria will be used for students to serve detention for being late.

Starting on Monday, October 1, students will fill out a chart to plan their Pride Period schedule for the next two weeks. Students will also receive their grade sheets to assist in their planning, yet another reappearance of an aspect of CATS Class.

Even with losing a day that students could use for clubs or academics, Ms. Davenport does not think it will cause many issues. She stated, “So far, we’ve been able to get all the clubs scheduled,” and “I’m hoping that because we’re… taking the time to plan… we’re going to be more efficient, so that we can get done what we need to get done in four days as opposed to five.”

While Ms. Davenport said that the new changes are not a way of phasing out Pride Period, she did not allude a return to the one-hour Pride. She stated, “My concern about the one-hour lunch is we have a lot of kids that leave campus… That scares me because I’m responsible for kids from 7:30 to 2:17… It’s a legal issue; it’s a responsibility issue.” Ms. Davenport also said that there was not any one particular group of students leaving campus, but all students: athletes, band kids, AP students, everyone.

Another issue with the one-hour Pride was, “We started to think of it as an hour lunch. It was never intended to be an hour lunch. It was intended to be lunch and an half hour of intervention… We started to really think that it was just kind of an hour of free time… and that really wasn’t serving us very well,” said Ms. Davenport.

Possibly the most long lasting affect of the new Pride schedule is how it could improve students’ planning skills. Ms. Davenport stated she hopes that the new Pride schedule will give students “the time to stop and reflect on [their] grades because I don’t think… teenagers get enough time to stop and think… Once [students] leave here, and [they are adults], [they] have to make the time to do those things. [Students] have to be able to stop and reflect on [their] budget… [They] have to take the time to stop and reflect on how things are going in college… And if [students] don’t start to reflect now and get into that habit, I’m afraid [they] won’t develop that skill.”