by Cheyenne McLeod
Principal Brian Reagan proposed an incentive for rising seniors to the school committee on April 11. His proposal would allow students with rigorous schedules to have a free “X’ block if they meet certain criteria. On May 9, the school committee voted and approved this schedule change for seniors starting with the class of 2018.
In the following weeks after Advanced Placement exams, qualified rising seniors will be notified and given the option to add an “X” block to their schedule for next year.
The criteria of a rigorous schedule is under discussion, but Reagan says that they will consider the amount of AP and Honors classes students take and their participation in activities.
Since the introduction of the block schedule four years ago, Reagan said that many parents have become concerned about students’ course load.
Reagan supports this proposal.
“We don’t have a lot of incentives for seniors like a lot of high schools do. There’s not a whole lot that seniors get for almost making it to the finish line. If we put something like this into place, this can help promote academic rigor, excellence and responsibility among our student body.”
To qualify for this opportunity students must meet the following criteria: a daily attendance rate of 95%, a GPA of 3.5 or higher on the 5-point scale, no disciplinary offenses, and as expected, a signed parent permission form*. Administration will be focused on the student’s junior year to determine eligibility.
Students have the option to choose “X” block as either a year-long or a semester course, and “X” blocks are not credit-earning electives. Senior students with an “X” block will be able to leave campus for that 70-minute block period, and on some days that includes coming in late or leaving early. Seniors are also given the freedom to work quietly in the library or receive extra help from a teacher during school hours.
Seniors with an “X” block must carry their student ID with them when they leave and return to campus, and students must sign in and out of the office, as well as comply with all of Massachusetts Junior Operator Licensing regulations. If any rules are broken, the administration can revoke a student’s “X” block privileges.
*Criteria for senior privileges are subject to change.*
Since the approval of “X” block, this raises questions about the junior class. They take rigorous courses, too. Should they be able to have an “X” block?
“If it goes well next year for the seniors,” Reagan says, “we’ll consider a similar option for juniors.” Juniors would not be able to leave campus, but if they qualified, they could have a study hall period.
As for the underclassmen, Reagan has hope that this change will “encourage underclassmen to work hard” and earn better grades to eventually qualify for this opportunity.