By Colin Jun
On October 10th, our school administrators proposed that we examine the way the club meeting time was working in our new schedule. This was due to concerns expressed by the students after the implementation of the flextime schedule. The new “Club Day” rotation system distributed every Flexi period during this year into four groups so that different Flexi periods would be provided to a broader range of clubs. Club Day 1 and Club Day 2 rotations will occur over a relatively regular club meeting schedule, while Club Day 3 and four rotations will provide a relatively flexible meeting schedule. In regards to Extended Learning and lunchtime, the school will now allow clubs granted the use of those periods for meetings and planning. However, during those periods, the clubs must have their meeting outside of the classroom, which implies that the presence of the supervisor is not required. The goal of this new system is clear: The school recognizes the importance and value of club activities in high school and would like to provide enough opportunity and time for students to participate in the clubs actively.
The hidden, but essential, figure behind this decision was the “Club Task Force (Club TF).” Deciding this new system, the school emphasized a reflection of the voice of both the students and the teachers. Therefore, the school established “Club Task Force,” which included both faculty members and several student representatives. The job of the Club Task Force was to find a solution for the club meeting time concerns. However, it was not easy. Mrs. Preis, our high school vice principal, and one of the faculty members in Club Task Force, told us it would be difficult to “meet everyone’s needs.”
Why was all this necessary? Due to its association with the middle school, Club TF had to find the solution within the Flexi schedule. Students were demanding a more organized schedule for the club meeting times and were requesting more time to participate in every activity that interests them. After the implementation of the Flexi period, due to the limited amount of free Flexi blocks, students were confined to participate in only a few activities. Meanwhile, for the clubs in our school, executive members were not able to recognize the committing members, since the club meeting was not constant. This only created more excuses for clubs not to meet. It used to be that groups of faculty members and students felt as though lunch time was the only time that was free for club meetings. But, especially for faculty members, hosting the club meetings at lunch did not allow for personal space or any spare time within the school. So we did not want to return to that system again.
To bring in as many opinions as possible, Club TF administered a survey about clubs to students and faculty while also setting up the graffiti wall in HS Commons Area. Evaluating voices in and out of TF, the Club TF thus tried to establish a new approach that would shape the new club schedule. TF confirmed that every club does not have to follow the format of “traditional” club meetings. Advances in technology do not require every student to meet regularly for club activities, and more flexible use of conference rooms and HS Commons does not confine the meeting place in the classrooms. Regarding the faculty, TF concluded that the faculty do not have to be present at every club meeting as a supervisor; rather the role of the faculty member could remain as an adviser, providing the assistance and advice to student-led (and focused) club activities. Faculty members take the important role as the adult guardian for each club; however, as the “student-led” clubs, TF agreed that the presence of students should be emphasized.
From these fundamental ideas, the new system started to form. To ensure the consistency of the club meeting schedule, TF decided to implement a rotation system and let the school assign the specific dates for the club meetings. There are four Flexi blocks in two weeks, therefore we have a “4 Club Day” rotation that ensures at least one club meeting to be held every two weeks. Also, Club TF formalized the lunchtime meetings so they do not require direct supervision of a faculty member. Formalizing this idea, TF aimed to provide sufficient spare time for faculty and double the opportunity for students to participate and plan for club activities.
At the conclusion of this six week journey, Club Task Force introduced the new club schedule system to our school. Although it may not satisfy every single student and faculty member in our school, the effort and commitment of Club Task Force to solve the problem should be appreciated by the community.
* Special Thanks to Mrs. Preis for granting an interview with Pudong Press about new club schedule.