On the 28th of January, the start of the second semester at CHS, administrators decided to change the school schedule, altering the way Maker Time functions. Instead of being held after sixth period, the new schedule has it preceding sixth period. But that is not the only change: students now need passes from teacher to leave a given classroom to receive help from another teacher or go to a common space.
The reception to this change has been, to say the least, mixed. That leaves the question: Why did the change occur?
The key administrator in charge of Maker Time and its subsequent change is Principal Dr. Liza Sejkora. She came to Camas as the principal last year, when there was a conference period after school that was not mandatory. Sejkora and the new administration team she works with knew bus-riding students could not easily access that conference time. Instead, admin. moved conference period into the school day.
But not all Papermakeres have the same Maker Time needs. The Main Commons quickly became a hot spot, overcrowded with noise and students eager to end their day and leave school. Sejkora says, “As we continued to listen to parents, teachers, and students who shared [their] thought[s] about this time, we (the Admin Team) began to analyze Maker Time. When we [realized] how many students couldn’t access at least one teacher due to our zero hour schedule*, we knew an immediate adjustment was needed.”
*That last point appears to refer to the senior zero hour schedule, allowing students to take classes during periods 0-5 as opposed to 1-6.
Despite the reasoning behind the change, some students and staff felt the communication around the change could have been better. For students, the intention of the change has been unclear from the start; With varying accounts and bouts of speculation. When asked why he thinks the change was made Sophomore Liam Martin stated, “The reason they say we have it in the first place, or so I’ve been told, is that the time we spend in class daily isn’t enough to meet a standard of some kind.” Sophomore Tyler Brazington adds, “To me, it seems the change to Maker Time came from the amount of students unsupervised in the main commons and the north commons that shouldn’t really have been there according to the on-paper version of Maker Time… I haven’t seen any direct communication from the school administration regarding the change or the reasoning behind it.”
To that end, Sejkora was not oblivious to the problem. “I want to own a major failure–we didn’t communicate well with [the] student[s]. For that I am regretful. Although this might be an unpopular decision, it was the right decision so that all students can access all of their teaches. The hard part about change is that sometimes it’s not timely; this is a prime example. I would have loved to do surveys and seek input regarding this change (and we will in March as it pertains to next school year). The hard part about being a principal is that this decision was made quickly because we want all students who want to access their teachers for academic support to be able to do so. We believe this change will allow for that.”
Amongst teachers, there seems to be a recurring opinion. The new Maker Time schedule is causing more difficulties than before. One issue that has been brought up is the ability to host clubs. While it may be possible to issue a pass to each member of that club, having a class present during the time of the club causes complications. Teacher Mrs. Lori Thornton and her student teacher state that this “put a damper on some of the stuff my class does during Maker Time. It’s hard to host a ping pong club.” Beyond only clubs, there are a host of other issues. According to Mrs. Alisa Wise, a math teacher at CHS, “Because there have been ‘hey you’re going to stay in fifth period’ and because of the difficulty of getting passes and just that whole process– I find kids don’t even leave, unless they’re required to be somewhere for a club or something… It turns into something like another advisory… it’s just like a study hall.” She continues with, “I have more kids in my class, I help less kids.”
Wise comments, “This year seems to be the theme that everything is coming down like, oh, we’re doing what?… We had that staff meeting where kids came and presented some options (for maker time changes) and then they give us like a survey on that. I don’t think that really ended up being part of what ended up happening.” This helps expand upon the issue of miscommunication brought up previously.
Students seem to have a consistent mindset with the new Maker Time schedule, that being they do not like one bit of it. The lack of freedom to utilize the campus classrooms and hallways at ease has not been well received. Martin states “I’m not a fan of it for sure. Especially the new one.” Brazington comments, “I think the current Maker Time after fifth period is fine. I did enjoy the time after school before I had to go to the bus– But I think the after 5th period Maker Time will make kids get more help rather than just walk around.”
There has been some response in the form of social media accounts discussing and commenting upon Maker Time. One such page on Instagram is Students Against Maker Time:
In a recent Instagram story, they urge students to contact the superintendent Dr. Jeff Snell to express their opinion. Beyond that, there have also been a number of posts regarding the change as well.
Regarding all the new schedule changes, it’s good to know the facts. Maker Time has been altered so that the student body as a whole may have access to the resources Maker Time provides. Although not all aspects of the schedule change have been accepted with high regard, the matter still persists that this was done with the intent of meeting all students’ needs. As time progresses, hopefully, teachers and students will feel their voice is being heard while also understanding the reasoning and complications behind the decision.