Williston Introduces New Online Schedule


Credit: Ms. Motyka

With the shift of remote classes less than a month away, Williston decided to change the academic schedule to accommodate as many students as possible.

Some changes to the schedule include only three classes a day, no Saturday classes, and non-mandatory evening sessions for extra help. During the spring trimester last year, many students struggled with remote classes through Zoom. It was even harder for international students due to time zone differences with them missing most of the classes after midnight.

Williston decided to not have students return immediately after Thanksgiving break because of increased health risks including the flu season and Covid-19. To be cautious, the school will have students go remote for three weeks, then winter break, and then remote again for another two weeks before we come back in person on Jan. 19.

Linda Askenazi Mochon, a senior from Mexico, has mixed feelings about the new schedule. “I like that it’s short, but I don’t like the schedule,” she said. “I understand that it’s like early in the morning because of the different time zones, but I’m an hour ahead [in Mexico] so classes for me start an hour early. Although she’s not a huge fan of the schedules, she understands why the school adjusted it.

However, she is worried about one particular class. “AP Studio Art will be a bit difficult because I don’t know what materials to take,” she explained. “I don’t know what I would need and if I’ll [be able to] find everything at home.”

Linda continued, “I use a lot of different mediums like gold flakes and heat resistant paper.” These materials aren’t easily accessible for her back home.

Even though classes might be a struggle for her, Linda’s glad that she’ll be able to have lots of free time to do other things. “I’ll take violin lessons during my violin lessons, see friends, and work out.”

On the other hand, Kat Livingston, a junior from Rhode Island., couldn’t be happier about the new schedule. “I like it the way it works out for me because I have a free every day except for Wednesdays,” she said. However, she does acknowledge the difficulty for international students. She told the Willistonian, “I think for international students who have a 14 hour time difference isn’t very good because now the classes are mandatory.”

Madison Hamilton, a senior from Pepperell, Mass., agrees with Kat. She said, “I think it’s nice for us because it is less actual class time, but I think there’s going to be a lot more work by yourself.”

Madison explained, “Because we’re only having classes with our teachers twice a week, I know that some of my teachers expect us to do a lot on our own more than usual.”

She’ll be taking advantage of her extra time. “I’ll probably start doing gymnastics again and holiday stuff with my mom.”

Jihee Liu, a senior from Tokyo, Japan, hopes that the new schedule will help with his sleep schedules. “I used to sleep during the day in the spring and be awake for the rest of the night,” he said. “[The spring schedule] was not very helpful for me because during the day I wanted to read a book at a café, but the school schedule just messed everything up.”

He continued, “I couldn’t really do anything that I want and the new schedule is definitely better.”

Jihee will spend his free time around Tokyo. “I usually go to bookstores, ride my bike, and spend a lot of time with my friends.”

However, he is a little concerned about keeping up with his work. “I’m worried about all my classes because I just hate online school because I just don’t have the motivation to do stuff,” he said. “There’s just so many distractions in my house like my family because I usually study in my living room. ”

Kim Evelti, the Director of Curriculum, wanted to make the transition to online school as smooth as possible. “We were aiming to make the schedule manageable for teachers and students,” she said. “[We wanted] people to not spend too much time on Zoom each day.”

She emphasized that the school wants the best for their students. “We want people to get to all classes as possible and reduce the overall  assignments.”

Evelti thoroughly explained that although it seems like we are losing class time, it is actually the same as other trimesters. “Trimester two is 13 weeks. Even though it is a lower number of classes per week, there is still the same number of classes compared to trimester one and three,” she said. “Everyone came back on Sept. 1 to make up for the loss of time.” Typically school doesn’t officially start until a week into September with preseason sports, welcome days, and leadership training. However, all of it was canceled this year due to Covid-19.

All classes are mandatory, but exceptions could be made. Evelti said, “[Students should] make all meetings if at all possible. However, for some people, it might not work. People in California have to get up early and people in Asia have to get up late.”

She continued, “We reduced the number of classes to make it doable, but it is different for every kid and we are doing it by case by case.”

Evelti told The Willistonian that teachers are also adapting test formats to fit online school. She showed a Padlet link on her Surface with many different options. Some of them included oral exams and student-made exams.