Last week, what is hoped to be the first “Step-Up Day” of many to come was held at Old Rochester Regional High School. Students from the eighth grade at the junior high joined the rest of the current high school students to practice a run through of their academic schedules for next year. Over the course of two hours, ten-minute sessions were held of all eight periods of next semester, allowing classes to meet with their teachers and receive summer work in-person.
In the past, students found out their schedules during the summertime via the school’s online gradebook or during sessions with their guidance counselor. This year brought the introduction of the “Step-Up Day,” giving the classes and teachers a chance to prepare for the upcoming school year.
“The Step-Up Day was reminiscent of shopping periods at universities, and I liked it because everyone seemed a lot less anxious about their new classes,” commented librarian Allison Barker. “I also appreciated the opportunity for the English teachers to hand out summer reading homework in person.”
With the exception of a few teachers who were either absent or positions that have not been filled yet, students were able to meet with teachers for classes. In some cases, this included course additions or position changes; for instance, M.J. Linane has taught history for the past ten years but will fill the position of the technology teacher beginning next year.
“It went pretty smoothly. I think it was a good idea generally,” said Linane. “Personally, I had some trouble using the time most effectively because I had new preps and courses, but it was nice to be able to meet and converse with students.”
It was a general consensus among students that being able to see classes beforehand and understand the requirements of each course was beneficial, as it allowed time for last-minute schedule changes. Since the high school does not allow course switches after the end of the previous school year, the week between Step-Up Day and the beginning of finals meant that students could make more informed choices before it was too late.
“Most of the [eighth graders] are probably going to forget how to get to classes over the summer, but I thought it was useful to be able to get to know our teachers,” rising freshman Andrew Cucci said.
“It was kind of fun because you get a little taste of next year,” added fellow rising freshman Jack Caynon.”You get to see who you’re with.”
“It was informational,” rising senior Bella Rodrigues said. “I like to know what I’m getting into.”
While the Step-Up Day was successful for its inaugural attempt, there were several critiques shared between many of the student participants. One of the main comments revolved around the short span of ten minutes that was spent in each class, assuming all students arrived at the room on time.
“I thought it was okay, but it’d be better if it was longer,” said rising senior Hanil Kang. “I did like that we got to see our teachers for next year,” he added.
Rising sophomore Ryu Huynh-Aoyama agreed with this sentiment. “It would have been better if it wasn’t just ten minutes in each class and if the tables in the cafeteria were marked for the different classes, so if our teacher was not present we could still meet with our classmates.”
Altogether, the Step-Up Day was beneficial to many of the staff and students at the high school, and will hopefully run again in the years to come to better prepare students for the following academic cycle.
By Jo Caynon