FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Will the number of classes that are normally taken change?
Nope! Students will still take 7 classes each year. For students who are not taking a language level I-III, they can still take 8 classes if there is space in the additional class.
Each class block is a little shorter, how can we cover the same content?
For language classes, we are actually increasing time with classes 40 minutes every day (we used to do every other Wednesday). But all other classes are now 65 minutes long. This may mean some extra homework or it may mean a slight reduction in content. It all depends on the class. We do have an increase in unscheduled time (office hours, free periods, longer lunch, etc.) where students can complete homework throughout the day. We could have increased class time by starting back at 8:00 am, but we thought that a later start and using our time more efficiently was the better option.
When can I take Jazz or Rock Band?
We used to fit Jazz and Rock Band into one of the single blocks alongside World Languages. This would give some students an 8th class and only worked if it fit perfectly in their schedule. Now Jazz and Rock Band are each one semester long and students will take them like a normal elective.
Can I still take two languages?
In the previous schedule a handful of students were able to take two languages simultaneously. It only worked if the second language fit exactly into their free period. With this new schedule, it is not possible. Instead students must rise out of level III before starting another language at the beginning. In other words, you can simultaneously take level IV and above of one language while taking levels I-III of another.
IMPACT, EXPLORATORY, HEALTH & WELLNESS
Where did Impact go?
We value the goals of Impact so much that we want to put it everywhere! As we develop this program, we are experimenting with different ways of incorporating the impact objectives into everything that we do at Sonoma Academy. We already have Impact-based electives (Civic Engagement, AS Engineering for Social Good, etc.). We will work to expand these offerings.
We also love that lots of Impact projects are student-driven, so we want to move them into a more fluid space and time. This is why we made lunch longer, so that Impact Clubs can meet as idea incubators. As they start to gain steam, we can move them into the Exploratory world and then potentially an academic elective! As our understanding deepens of our surrounding communities, we need to be flexible to meet those changing needs.
We will still work with our partner schools; we will still have Student Sustainability Leaders, STEMinism, etc. We will work to evaluate the time period that will work best for those organizations to thrive.
If Exploratory is now part of the rotating schedule, will I have less choice?
The short answer is yes, you will have fewer choices. We used to offer over 40 Exploratories each quarter. That will go down to 10-15 choices. But, those original 40 Exploratories contained a lot of other programming that often didn’t apply to a given student, like College Counseling, PE classes, etc. We have pulled out all of the programs that were embedded in Exploratory and reduced it to its essence, which is to try something new, to truly explore. And by rotating Exploratory, we will be able to use some of our popular experiential spaces more fully. For example, rather than only two cooking classes per quarter, we can now have them all day long!
Can I be exempt from PE as a 9th/10th grader if I am on an Athletics team or outside of school athletic activity?
No. As we revamp our Health & Wellness program, it is critical to include movement, fitness, nutrition, etc. as a component of our overall approach to wellbeing. We don’t want the athletes to miss out!
FREE TIME, STUDY HALLS AND OFFICE HOURS
As a senior, will I still have a double-free?
Yes, if you choose to take the normal 7 courses, you will have a long-block free period one semester. We may not call it a “double-free” anymore, however.
How long is my free period if I am in a language level I-III?
It is 25 minutes long.
When will I take a make-up test?
Normally, we would schedule make-up tests on Friday mornings. This will move to Wednesday afternoons.
I relied on my Study Halls! When can I have a Study Hall?
As Study Hall proctors, we find that students fall into three categories: we fight (not literally) with a about a third of the students to stay in the room and do their work, another third are quiet but probably watching Netflix, and the final third are feverishly completing work counting on the time to survive. So, we are trying something new in the form of more free time and more opportunities for Office Hours.
All students will have a 40-minute period on Wednesday in addition to any free blocks (those connected to the language or “double-frees,” see above). Students will also have an hour-long lunch everyday with an extra 15 minutes here and there designated for Office Hours or even a “break.” This means that you have the time you counted on, you just don’t have the adult taking attendance.
If you would like us to identify a silent study room where an adult keeps the lights on and tells everyone to be quiet, let us know. We would be glad to make that happen, but we need you to at least take the step and ask for it. We may even take attendance if that makes you study more, too.
Not that I am complaining, but why is lunch so long?
If there is one thing we learned going through the Covid pandemic it’s that we value our time together, both just hanging out and also working alongside each other on a common interest or cause. The long lunch is for clubs, affinity groups, impact projects, etc. to meet. These will be overseen by an adult coordinator.
Tell me more about Office Hours?
Office Hours are such an important part of a student’s learning process. Students use them to get extra one-on-one time with teachers, take a make-up quiz, flex those responsible student muscles, etc. Currently, we put all Office Hours at the same time once a week. Students gave us some feedback that it made it challenging to see multiple teachers at the same time and often the once-a-week model wasn’t timed well to provide assistance when really needed.
In this new schedule, we placed some space for Office Hours twice a week, but not all teachers will be available at those times. Instead, each teacher will specify two 30-minute periods before school, after school, during lunch and during designated Office Hours time where they will be available. This way, students have multiple options, and they can meet with different teachers throughout the week. The Office Hours schedule will be posted on mySA once ready.
OVERALL SCHEDULE QUESTIONS
Do I still have the Friday sleep-in?
We eliminated the Friday sleep-in day. But we did retain the later 8:30 start. (Remember before Covid, when we started at 8:00?) Instead, you will get an early release most Wednesdays. This will help with Athletics conflicts while still having a consistent start–time.
Can I organize a weekly activity outside of school on Wednesdays since we have an early release?
11th and 12th grade students will have periodic Health & Wellness workshops on Wednesday afternoons. So make sure to check the schedule before organizing outside of school activities.