Schedule changes in the works for BHS


Adam Degenhardt

Baldwin High School serves the Baldwin, Whitehall, and Baldwin Township communities.

Brendan Harris and Seth Franco

For the 2023-2024 school year, the length of the student school day will be slightly increased so that it will be back to its pre-Covid length.

During the pandemic, the state requirement for students to spend 990 hours in a classroom each year was waived. Schools just had to find ways to arrange their bell schedules while maintaining health safety.

However, the district is moving back to the normal time requirements next school year. Classes are going to be slightly longer, and it is likely that dismissal will be later in the day. Principal Shaun Tomaszewski said that next year’s class periods will likely be increased from 41 minutes to about 45 minutes – which is how long classes were before Covid.

“I’m thinking they’ll be 45 minutes,” he said. “I think the most recent iteration of the bell schedule that (Baldwin Middle School Principal Mr. Scott) Ross and I were playing around with was 45 minutes.”

It is also possible that homeroom could be shortened or moved around in the schedule, but no decision has been made.

“What Mr. Ross and I have been looking at is nesting homeroom inside a lunch period,” Tomaszewski said. 

Under this setup, during the lunch periods, 15 minutes could be taken out for homeroom, with the rest for lunch. This also was the setup before the pandemic.

The exact timing of the bell schedule has not yet been decided due to a variety of factors.

For example, one of the issues in determining next year’s bell schedule is busing. Districts across the state are currently low on bus drivers, and getting both Baldwin high school and middle school students to the school is affected by that shortage.

“Transportation challenges, not just in our school district, but across the state, have been a huge hurdle for the bell schedule,” Tomaszewski said.

Students could get more stressed, and if the school day is longer, it will affect students who need time for other commitments like work

— Junior Arta Arghash

Another possible change is that the school day could be moved either slightly earlier or later. 

“That (dismissal time) is one of the things we’re waiting to hear back from transportation regarding. And that’s going to be dependent on how the middle school bus runs will occur. … And that’s going to be dependent on drivers and all those logistics that transportation folks are figuring out,” Tomaszewski said.

Overall, though, the eight-period day is going to be quite similar to this year’s schedule. Any larger potential changes in the school day, such as a move to block scheduling, will not happen next year.

Some students said they were not happy with the idea of a slightly longer school day. 

“I don’t think you need that unless you’re swamped with work. You usually have enough time to do all of your assignments in class,” freshman Nicholai Porol said.

Junior Arta Arghash thinks that even a slightly longer school day will negatively affect busy students.

“Students could get more stressed, and if the school day is longer, it will affect students who need time for other commitments like work,” Arghash said.

Students and families will learn the makeup of the finalized bell schedule before next school year.

“The new schedule will be put in the back-to-school letter that will be sent out to families before the beginning of next school year,” Tomaszewski said.