4×4 schedule causes stress for students and teachers, please reconsider, VBCPS

Infographic that shows students opinion on the 4x4 schedule made by Kylie Sutton.

Infographic by Kylie Sutton

Infographic that shows students’ opinion on the 4×4 schedule made by Kylie Sutton.

The 4×4 schedule overloads students with grades due sooner and tighter deadlines, causing stress. Even though VBCPS plans to continue with the 4×4 schedule, mixed with the A/B schedule for the 2023-2024 school year, they should reconsider the 4×4 schedule and seek student feedback.

It did not take long to find students who want to speak up about the 4×4.

“It is difficult because when I have missing assignments from being absent, I have to get them done fast and stay on top of other work for other classes or else I’ll fall behind,” said freshman Anna Daubenspeck. 

Those who are involved in extracurricular activities and outside work are mostly affected because the work continues to pile up each school day.

“It can be stressful for teachers to plan and grade as well as communicate with counselors, parents and students when it comes to makeup work and tutor sessions daily,” said math teacher Janet Hammer.

With the new schedule, teachers have only one planning block each semester, teaching six classes as opposed to 5, and most students have only one study block year-round. This makes it difficult for students to budget in time to meet with teachers and make appointments with their counselors during school hours.

In the transition to the second semester, students have to rebuild their connections, meet new peers and leave their old friends behind in their first semester classes. This causes a huge adjustment to their socio-emotional mindsets, and they are only given one day off in between to switch gears. 

In addition, students forget past knowledge more easily, with huge time gaps between subject matters and consecutive courses, sometimes a gap as wide as seven months. 

Students who have final exams or SOLs for 4×4’s are pressured more than those who are enrolled in year-long courses. Year-long courses give students more time to prepare, which results in an inequitable set up for 4×4 students.

VBCPS should reconsider the effects of the 4×4 schedule and switch back to the original A/B schedule to give students more time to invest in the knowledge of their particular courses.