Students adjusting to the third floor Eastside Catholic High School this fall are, for the most part, enjoying having classes on their floor. Middle school and high school classrooms had been separated by wing last year, but in an effort to respond to feedback that the high school and middle school should be separated as much as possible, the EC administration decided to try this new separation by floor.
In the past two years, the middle school operated on a different bell schedule from the high school’s. While this worked well in preventing traffic jams in passing periods, it was understandably difficult for middle school teachers to manage their different class schedule and for parents with both middle school and high school students to have their students getting out of school at different times.
So this year, the high school and middle school bell schedules –albeit with different breaks and lunches –are more in sync, which means that middle schoolers and high schoolers do share some passing periods. However, the middle school and high school classrooms are now predominantly on the second and third floors, respectively. Therefore, students can remain on their respective floors throughout the majority of the school day, right?
Well, not quite. High school students still have classes in the courtyard classrooms, and a few students have one or two classes in the second-floor science wing or in the first-floor library and computer labs. Additionally, high school and middle school teachers share the first floor art classrooms.
Thus, many high school students find themselves wading through throngs of middle schoolers on their way to second and first-floor classes, especially in the stairwells. Senior Cami Silverman remarked, “It’s not just that we have to put up with sharing our hallways with younger and at times loud and obnoxious students. It would be tolerable if they could at least walk on the right-hand side of the hallway, but they don’t.” Senior Miles Linde added, “I really think the middle schoolers need recess. They probably have P.E. classes, but if they have to run through the hallways to get their energy out, they’re obviously not getting enough exercise.”
Other high schoolers find themselves sprinting from the courtyard classrooms to their next classes on the third floor. And as a student with a first period class in a courtyard classroom and a second period class in the third floor C wing, I know the feeling.
Still, some high school students appreciate these physically taxing changes. When asked how she feels about having classes almost exclusively on the third floor, senior Kelly McCann exclaimed, “I feel like I’m getting good exercise!”
But others are less excited about the exercise. Senior Anna Caldwell remarked, “I have to say I don’t like it because we still have classes in the art rooms and the courtyard classrooms so it’s very spread out and a lot of walking.” Senior Alana Foster also said, “It’s frustrating because I feel like the middle schoolers are more sprightly. Their youthful legs could carry them all the way to the third floor with ease.” Indeed, having the high school on the second floor could eliminate such problems. As senior Ian Davis said, “I personally don’t like it because it didn’t do anything to isolate us from the middle schoolers and now I have to get more exercise. Having the middle schoolers on the third floor would have been better.”
However, the EC administration had to consider the fact that the third floor has all the C wing classrooms, whereas the second floor C wing is occupied by the campus ministry office and the staff lounge. The high school needs the additional classrooms. Not to mention the fact that in the future the middle school will have its own building altogether. But for now, the school is working to find the best way to handle the current situation.
Many high school students are actually enjoying this new arrangement. Senior Hunter Zahn, finding that he personally hasn’t had to compete as much with middle schoolers for hallway space, said, “It beats having to wade through middle schoolers.” Senior Anna Vertner also said, “I really like the high school being on the third floor! It makes walking to classes feel like more of a high school experience and less like a middle school-infused chaos.” Senior Laura Shellooe remarked, “Having all the high school students on one floor really helps in making the high school feel like a close-knit community.”
So it seems that acceptance of the new high school-middle school arrangement depends on who you ask. Perhaps those who are happier with the current arrangement have fewer classes to walk to on different floors, but of those interviewed, this didn’t seem to necessarily be the case. After all, having classes all over the school isn’t that big of a change from last year. But aside from those looking for exercise, most generally agree that less interactions with middle schoolers, more opportunities to be in the same area as their peers, and that less frantic sprints –especially from one corner of the school to the other –would be ideal if possible. Students do understand, however, that getting the schedule they want, whatever the effects it has on which rooms their teachers are assigned to, should always take priority.
“I like the layout now more than last year. It’s nice having most of my classes in the same general area,” said senior Tessie LaMourea. Hopefully as new solutions to the middle school-high school situation are tested, more and more students will share her opinion.