New schedule creates change

B-period and later start time adjusts students’ days


Judy Luo

Students learn how to adjust and balance their busy schedules with new start times, longer tutorial periods, and the new “B-period”, an after-school replacement of A-period.

Yining Xie, Staff Writer

The jury is still out on this year’s new schedule.
Since Senate Bill 328 went into effect to start the school year on Aug. 10, many Cal High students began their days later with no classes being offered earlier than 8:30 a.m. Conversely, many students are ending their days later too because the extra A period that used to be scheduled from 7:31-8:30 a.m. has now been shifted to the end of the day.
The optional seventh period, now called B period, starts at 2:40 p.m. and runs until 3:41 p.m.
“Sometimes if you have to do something after school, you really don’t have much time to do it,” sophomore Kaylie Chang said.
Senate Bill 328, which was signed into law in late 2019 and went into effect on July 1, requires all California high schools to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. and all middle schools to start no earlier than 8 a.m. This change was proposed after three decades of scientific research on teen health, sleep patterns, and brain chemistry, according to State Senator Anthony J. Portantino, who authored the bill.
As a result, Cal changed its schedule to replace A period with B period because any classes offered before 8:30 a.m. would not count toward graduation credit, according to the new law.
Last year, nearly 700 of Cal’s 2,800-plus students were enrolled in classes offered during the earlier period. This year, only 509 students are enrolled in classes offered at the end of the day, according to school enrollment figures.
Freshman Amiya Khosla likes B period because she can wait after school for her tennis practice, which starts at 4 p.m.
“I did a B period because practice starts at four, so I would get to stay at school and not go all the way home,” Khosla said. “It works out very well and I like it.”
But sophomore Hana Kim said she despises B period, because going home later means that she pushes back the time she starts her homework and goes to bed. She feels like she is almost falling asleep in all her classes compared to just falling asleep in A period last year.
“I always sleep later than normal,” Kim said. “[So] I’m sleeping in class because I’m sleep-deprived.”
This is a problem facing student athletes because sports practice start times have been pushed back to 4 p.m. to accommodate students taking B period.
Although some students live close enough to campus to easily go home after school and return for practice, others don’t have the luxury and are now forced to wait around for practice to start.
“My house is too far away to go home,” senior Asher Coats said.
Coats said he is able to do homework at that time, but he preferred last year, when practices started at 3:30 p.m., 30 minutes after school ended. Coats said he would immediately change and go out to the track compared to this year where he has to wait more than an hour at school before his practice starts.
Some students who have teacher meetings after school to receive additional help are also having issues if their teachers have a B period. These students cannot meet with their teachers after school for help until instruction time ends.
“It’s hard for them to visit me after school because I’m teaching a B period,” chemistry teacher Ryan Hughes said.
The late start and swap of A and B periods aren’t the only changes to this year’s schedule. Tutorial has been shortened by 10 minutes to 30 minutes and is now offered after third and fourth periods right before lunch instead of at the end of first and second periods.
There are also no more late starts on Wednesdays. With classes beginning at 8:30 every day, students are being released early on Wednesdays at 2:05 p.m. After this early release time is when teachers have their weekly meetings, instead of before school on Wednesdays like the previous year.
Lunch and brunch also were shortened by five minutes so the school day still follows rules.
San Ramon Valley Unified School District teachers’ contract states that they cannot work on average more than seven hours a day, said statistics teacher Bob Allen, who helped make the schedule. He said the schedule went through multiple drafts to make sure it followed the new law and fit within teachers’ contracted hours.
Some students are still adjusting to the shortened tutorial, brunch and lunch breaks.
“Because tutorial is shorter, it is harder for me to complete stuff,” Kim said. “Lunch being shorter, I don’t have time to go to club meetings and eat lunch after club meetings.”
Algebra 2 teacher Anthony Khoo, however, likes the new tutorial schedule better than the previous year’s because it goes straight into lunch and if the students are willing, students can stay longer during the lunch period and make the tutorial period longer.
“Teachers and students still have the flexibility option for the longer help period if you’re willing to give up your lunch,” Khoo said.
One change students and teachers seem to like is the new early release Wednesday, which was added to make the schedule more consistent and create time for weekly teacher meetings. Assistant Principal Jeff Osborn said an informal survey of students indicated students liked being able to go home early one day a week.
Students also like the consistency of having school start at 8:30 a.m. every day.
Chang said she doesn’t mind the new schedule that much because there is no more waking up early, but she has found it difficult volunteering at elementary schools for California Scholarship Federation because her B period class ends so late. Other students seem to like the new schedule as well.
“It’s easier to get into a routine and in terms of pick up and drop off with my parents.” sophomore Jasmine Young said.
Teachers shared a similar sentiment.
“I personally like it,” Khoo said. “Just because now the schedule is consistent Monday through Friday.”