At a school as big as Berkeley High School, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. With thousands of students, hundreds of class choices, and a wide range of classrooms, the task of preparing for a new year on campus can be very stressful. Knowing what classes you have, who you have them with, and where they are can help students be equipped for whatever level of difficulty the year will present. Students receiving their timetables a week before school, and sometimes even later, have a negative impact on their academic performance and mental health at the start of the school year.
The start of the year is already a difficult time for many students, with changes in all aspects of their lives during a major school summer shift. A return to heavy workloads and new responsibilities is a challenge that is only exacerbated by a lack of information. Mental and physical preparation is crucial to supporting students, and this is only possible if they are given the time and knowledge to do so.
For returning BHS students, class choices or potential teachers are often very important to them, and they have pre-existing expectations for how their schedule or year will turn out. It’s nearly impossible for students to get all the classes and teachers they want, and disappointment with their educational reality is even harder to deal with when they don’t have time to process. It’s no secret that some teachers and classes are more challenging than others, and part of students’ ability to thrive is that they know what they’re walking into.
For new BHS students, the pressure of a new school is already there. Without experience in the adorable, but undeniably great environment of BHS, the start of the school year takes on even more weight. The difficulties of entering a new social sphere merge with the challenges of navigating a large and confusing school, making for a very overwhelming time. ninth graders often experience a combination of anxiety and excitement before their first week, and knowing what their year will be like can help ground them. They don’t know what to expect from their time at BHS and have nothing to guide them without having access to their schedules in advance.
Julius Rosenbach, a ninth-grader from Hive 1, received his timetable three days before the first day of school. He recently graduated from a small private college, which led to difficulties integrating him into the Berkeley Unified School District system.
“It was just kind of boring because I had to see everyone else who already had their schedules, and I didn’t know anything,” Rosenbach said.
If students received schedules earlier in the summer, more time would be available to resolve the inevitable issues that would arise during the process of assigning schedules to over 3,000 students. In addition to preparing students, letting them know earlier about changes they want to make to their schedule allows them to connect with their advisors as soon as possible. This extra preparation time also makes it easier for advisors to manage the workload.
Overall, schedules determine the course of a student’s school year, and the more time students have to experience theirs, the more time they have to prepare to navigate their time at BHS.