New trial schedule proposed by Antonelli

Ben Walker and Andrew Friel

Update: Antonelli has released a trial schedule for a trial process due to occur in February/March 2016

After a new schedule proposal from Principal James Antonelli at Monday’s faculty meeting, there are now serious talks of implementing a new schedule at WA to alleviate the stress of students and staff.

According to Antonelli, this proposed schedule will be quite similar to the current one, but there will a few differences.

For instance, the school day would be extended by ten minutes, rather than the day ending at 1:55, it would end at 2:05. There would also be five minutes for students to get from class to class.

Proposed trial schedule
Proposed trial schedule

Although this plan is not set in stone, Antonelli says there is a possibility for students to try out the new schedule rather than just jumping right into it.

One trial process could be held in late February, and would test the proposal of giving students a break after second block.

During this break, Antonelli hopes that students would go to their lockers to make their book bags lighter, or get breakfast, since some students prefer to eat breakfast later in the morning rather than earlier.

“It gives [students] an opportunity to use [their] locker, take a couple books out so [their] book bag’s not 90 pounds, get a cup of coffee, grab an egg sandwich […], said Antonelli.

However, Antonelli does admit that the proposed school day extension would require negotiation of teacher contracts due to the union.

“I can’t just arbitrarily add to the school day,” said Antonelli, noting that some faculty members may take issue with any work day extension without the proper negotiations taking place.

On another note, if the new schedule were to be applied, Antonelli hopes to implement kiosks around the school to sell breakfast items to accommodate students who would like to use the break to eat breakfast.

“[The proposed kiosks] would be beneficial to the cafeteria. They’d make some more money,” said Antonelli.  

Any concerns about dismissal times will be minor, according to Antonelli, and he believes that since it is only ten minutes, parents with students in multiple district schools may need to reverse their pick up routines. He also feels that this schedule change would not need to roll down to any other district school, as this schedule mostly pertains to WA’s large class sizes.

“This is not a schedule that impacts me. My whole goal as the principal of this building is to think about students and staff. What I’m trying to propose here is something that I believe in my heart of hearts is good for students and staff based on Westford Academy 2015-2016,” said Antonelli.

Since the school is so big, Antonelli understands that it can be hard to work around the current schedule. Especially since the number of students has grown over the years.

“We’re so big and we’re not getting smaller, so how do [students] do it all because [they] do a lot and [they] really have no time during the school day,” said Antonelli.

According to Antonelli, the new schedule is still up in the air, and any estimated time for a permanent decision is not clear at this time.