Five Minutes To Pass, Take Two

Students lingering in the hall before the end of passing period. Pushing their arrival time to class back minute by minute. Finding a way to be late – to the classroom next door.

These are some of the ways students took advantage of Stratford’s original passing period. The upper school eventually eliminated the passing period, according to Upper School Principal Ms. Margaret Brogdon, in an attempt to speed up lagging students.

This year, Stratford is trying out the five-minute passing period again.

Brogdon said that the fieldhouse and the science center – both constructed within the past 10 years – made it more difficult for students to arrive promptly to class.

And although classes technically started back to back under last year’s passing system, every teacher gave students a few minutes of grace to get to class. The problem, according to Brogdon, was that there was “no definition” or consistency among the faculty. While some teachers were lenient, others strictly reprimanded late comers.

The switch back to the passing period was recommended by a scheduling committee chaired by former middle school dean and upper school economics teacher Mr. James Jordan.

After deliberating for an entire year and polling the faculty, the only change the committee recommended was giving the five-minute passing period another shot.

Opinions on the schedule change vary among faculty and students.

Brogdon said that the change was not difficult because teachers were already losing class time during the transition.

“Students were already late to class anyway, the schedule just made the transition time official,” English teacher Ms. Mary Beth Gumbart said.

Gumbart said the schedule was advantageous because if a teacher needs to run a few minutes over at the end of class, the students still have time to make it to their next class. According to Gumbart, the schedule has not been difficult to adjust to because teachers already gave five minutes for students to arrive to class; now it is just a defined period of time.

The schedule has affected students differently.

“I don’t like it because I used to know when my classes were, but now I don’t because the times shifted,” sophomore Ally Raymond said.

Raymond said that the schedule has been slightly difficult to adjust to, but she adds, “Eventually I’ll get it.”

Raymond also expressed her discontent with the fact that “now teachers get mad because there is no longer an excuse for being late.”

On the other hand, Sophomore Custis Donner said, “I like it better because you’re not as rushed to get your books in between classes.”