New Year, New Schedule

How do students and teachers feel about the change?


With the start of a new school year comes many changes: new classrooms, new teachers, and this year, a new schedule for all grades 6-12. This schedule replaces the 6-7 schedules that changed every day, and the 8-12 schedule that consisted of seven classes, 47 and 74-minute long periods, seven-minute passing periods, and a 10-day cycle that had been in place since 2010. So what do the students – and teachers – think of this new schedule?

When the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest (ISAS) came to Albuquerque Academy for a reaccreditation visit in January 2020, they suggested that the whole school be unified under one schedule. Head of School at the time, Andy Watson, began work on a new schedule in February 2020, but his efforts were quickly upended when the school closed in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When current Head of School Julianne Puente began her tenure in July 2020, the school’s administration resumed their work on creating a new schedule that was simpler and would reduce the homework load for students.

The first iteration of the new schedule was announced to the school community in April 2021, presenting longer 75-minute classes, 15 minute passing periods, grade and division time, and a new two-day cycle, with most classes meeting every other day. Other classes, like health and college knowledge, would meet for one-third of the year, every eighth day. The schedule in place now still consists of 75-minute classes and 15-minute breaks, but instead of a two-day cycle, it was extended to an eight-day cycle to accommodate classes that don’t meet as often. Grade and division time was also divided by day to have more options, like club time, advisory, and grade meetings.

The reaction to the new schedule has been mostly positive, with students praising the longer passing periods and having less homework every night. Abhishek Narahari ‘24 says, “I don’t mind the 75-minute class meeting times, as a good deal of work can be done, and it supplements for the one-day gap between the classes.” Becca Faber ‘24 says “I like that there’s less daily homework and that I have more time to do my assignments.”

But that’s not to say that the new schedule is perfect for everybody. Darin Eberhardt ‘25 says, “This isn’t really a slight on the new schedule versus the previous schedules, but I don’t think it necessarily lessens the workload like I’d heard was part of the goal behind the new format.” He adds, “I’m also not so sure about the altered testing format. I’ve heard from both my siblings, who are Academy alumni now, that the previous format (when Academy had finals at the end of each semester) was helpful for college, where finals at the end of each semester [are] common,” referring to the school’s new system for cumulative exams this year, where each department is assigned “test days” in the final two weeks of each marking period instead of having all students sit down for fall and spring final exams in December and May.

Janet Wilson, the 6-12 scheduler and math department chair, says that while she likes having longer classes, she wishes she could see all her students every day. She believes, though, that this schedule is more consistent than the old one. As the scheduler, Ms. Wilson also has the challenge of creating schedules for students, work that was compounded by her having to make schedules for 6-7 students as well. She remained upbeat, however, saying, “It’s a big puzzle, and I like puzzles.” She added that since there are more periods in the new schedule, it was easier for her to make sure most students got the classes they wanted.

Although no schedule will satisfy everybody’s needs, it seems that most students are enjoying this new schedule, citing more productive classes and less homework every night. But some do believe the classes are a little too long and wish they could meet every day. It remains to be seen if everybody can get on board with this new schedule.