The student news site of Daniel Pearl Magnet High School in Lake Balboa, CA

DPMHS to implement new schedule for 2021-22 school year

The new “4 by 4” schedule will include shortened semesters, allowing students to take a total of eight classes per school year.

June 17, 2021

When students return to campus in the fall, they won’t only be adjusting to being in a classroom with students. They will also have to adjust to a new class schedule that eliminates the fall and spring semester and reorganizes the school year into four 10-week groups called “mesters.”

The new schedule commonly called a “4 by 4,” allows students to complete a total of eight courses, instead of six, in one school year and complete more A-G graduation requirements. This block schedule allows students to take four 90-minute classes every mester. The first class will begin at 8:30 a.m., instead of 8 a.m. 

Daniel Pearl Magnet High School teachers approved the new bell schedule in May.  English teacher Ron Baer is in favor of the new schedule. 

“I’m actually really excited for this new schedule,” Baer said. “With this new schedule, I’m able to assign more group work and actually finish instead of having to keep going to the next day.” 

The Los Angeles Unified School District is offering funding incentives for schools that switch over to the 4×4 block schedule. This model has been in place at multiple schools for several years, including Arleta High School where the results were very positive. After discussing the success of this schedule at other high schools and the district incentive, Principal Armen Petrossian and the DPMHS faculty decided it was best for the students.

Previously, students were able to completely finish a course in one year. For example English 1A first semester and English 1B second semester. The quad-mester schedule allows students to finish English 1A in the first 10-week mester and English 1B in the second mester. What would normally take students 40 weeks to complete only takes 20 weeks instead. This allows students to take on an extra load of classes in the next mester. With the new schedule, students’ schedules open up in a way to incorporate more electives and college courses into their day-to-day schedule.

“As in the past, credits are only one component of the graduation requirements,” Counselor Martina Torres said. “Students will still need to complete the academic course requirements to fulfill graduation requirements.” 

By taking accelerated courses students will see their schedules start to open up, Torres suggests that students might want to take college classes.

“Next year, we will have two rounds of college classes available to students,” Torres said.

While there is still a lot to be worked out and considered, Petrossian and Torres said that sports will not be affected by the schedule change and those with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) will still be accommodated fully.

Even though most classes will be accelerated, some classes like advanced journalism classes that produce the news magazine and yearbook, and The Pearl Net News video production class will be year-long classes. If a student has a one-year-long class then they will be able to take three accelerated classes each mester  and the year-long class. Although most classes will be accelerated, some classes like Advanced Placement World History won’t be accelerated and will stay a year-long class. Torres and Petrossian are still working on finalizing which classes, specifically A.P. courses, will be accelerated and which will remain year-long courses.

 Some students are worried about the new schedule and its complexity. Sophomore Delilah Brumer is always on the search for ways to take more rigorous classes and likes the idea of having more classes but is still unsure of the schedule.

“I’m kind of conflicted about it. I feel like it’s too complicated and will mess up some of my plans,” Brumer said.

 Students wonder if teachers are going to assign more homework because students now have fewer classes. 

Baer’s English class generally consists of reading 150 pages a week, to double the work would be making students read 300 pages a week, about one novel a week. Baer guarantees that he will not double the workload. 

“Even if we double the time, there is no way I’m going to assign students double the work,” Baer said.

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