Note: Check back with the Acronym from a recording of the announcement, including the difficult Q&A session that followed, that will be uploaded.
During midday on Friday, May 2, IMSA sophomores and juniors filed into the school auditorium to learn of the schedule changes for the upcoming school year. At the meeting, Principal Mr. Branson Lawrence explained that “the reasons for these changes are mostly safety and students failing classes because of attendance” and that they were “trying to do it in the least painful process possible.”
Dr. Robert Hernandez, Director of Student of Affairs, explained that the purpose of the meeting was to “dispel rumors.” Throughout the meeting, he reminded the crowd that he had met with “sophomore and junior student leaders” for their ideas and that he would continue to be open to student input.
IMSA students will see changes to class schedules, residential hall openings, attendance points, and meal times. Some of the most noticeable changes include are the following:
- A full school day runs from a 8AM to 4:15PM. “A majority of students will have a schedule with a class that starts at 8 and a class that ends at 3:10.” Rather than the 20-minute periods and block schedules that IMSA students are familiar with, classes will be organized as 55-minute periods.
- All students will have a midday break from 11:55AM to 12:20PM to eat lunch, though some student may have open block before and after. Those taking more classes than the expected 7 per semester will be limited to having just the 15 minutes midday break. According to the document distributed to IMSA students, those with a shorter lunch break will have “student [IDs]… specially marked to allow [them] to go to the front of the line.”
- Residential halls will be closed during most of the school day (see the document below for specific times). Students’ key fobs will not allow them access to their halls, though students are still allowed outside the main building. The exception will be I-days on Wednesdays. Key fobs will work all day in order to accommodate students who are involved with Student Inquiry and Research (SIR), independent studies, and other activities.
- Due to concerns that students were failing classes for their tardy points, the attendance will be divided between two point systems. Unexcused absences will continue count toward withdraw/failure of a class but tardy points will be excluded from this count. Instead, they will count toward in-room points. Students who have accumulated tardy points will be face punished with in-room “detention.”
Chemistry teacher Dr. David Devol, who is involved with administrative decisions, was also present to clarify homework and teacher policies.
For several weeks prior to the meeting, many students have had vague ideas of the schedule and residential changes. This was the first official announcement on the academy’s part. Word quickly spread and has elicited strong reactions from IMSA students and alumni alike.
At the meeting, sophomores and juniors were provided with the attached document that lists the changes to be put in place.