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The Accolade

The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

TIME FOR CHANGE: First-year bell schedule of lunch before break gets the ax for 2023-2024

Noah Lee
Students enjoy their break at the quad on May 4. After a school year in which lunch came before break, school officials have decided to return to the 2021-2022 bell schedule.

Sunny Hills was the only campus in the Fullerton Joint Union High School District [FJUHSD] this school year that featured a bell schedule in which the 30-minute lunch period came before a 15-minute break.

When the 2023-2024 school year starts Aug. 14, the campus will no longer be the anomaly, as school officials have agreed to return to a traditional format of break before lunch.

“You went zero [period] through [third], and then you had to be at lunch, so it just didn’t fit and felt awkward for a lot of people,” said principal Craig Weinreich, who had not been named as Sunny Hills’ new leader to replace Allen Whitten when the bell schedule decision was made. “I think it was just a lot of people saying that it felt kind of weird to have lunch and break flip-flopped.”

Weinreich made the decision during the fall of last year to change the school’s bell schedule for the second time in two years after receiving feedback from students and teachers during their leadership meetings with department chairs and program leaders of the school.

The starting time had to be changed for this school year from 7:57 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. because of Senate Bill 328, which Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law in October 2019.

FJUHSD officials then told SH administrators that the end time of the school day had to be at 3:30 p.m. Then-assistant principal Melissa Stinson drafted two versions of bell schedules, and the current one received the most votes among faculty members.

This time around, an official vote was unnecessary as Weinreich heard enough concerns about the odd time of lunch starting at 11:36 a.m. followed by a break after fifth period at 2:12 p.m. The new bell schedule features zero period starting at 7:27 a.m.

Those who start the school day with first period will have to come on campus by 8:30 a.m. Second period will go from 9:33 a.m. to 10:33 a.m. followed by a 15-minute break at 10:33 a.m., administrators said.

After that, third and fourth periods follow with lunch starting from 12:54 p.m. to 1:24 p.m. with fifth and sixth periods to finish up the school day at 3:30 p.m.

The Wednesday late start schedule will have a similar outline to the regular day schedule, except zero period will start at 8:53 a.m. and end at 9:40 a.m., followed by first period starting from 9:45-10:32 a.m.

Second period will begin at 10:34 a.m., followed by a break from 11:22 a.m. to 11:32 a.m.

After third and fourth periods, lunch will go from 1:16 p.m. to 1:46 p.m., and students will finish school at the same time after their fifth and sixth periods.

The updated times were actually part of the schedule that got outvoted last school year.

“The biggest thing I appreciate is having enough of the school day, like having at least fifth and sixth periods after lunch,” yearbook adviser Lindsay Safe said. “I feel like the school community and culture is better this way because more students will be on campus during lunch.” 

The change will again prompt the Associated Student Body [ASB] to make another switch from its current period three slot to period four next school year.

“We want to put ASB before lunch because we need to set up the activities we have,” ASB adviser David Fenstermaker said. “Traditionally, we have it at fourth period, and then we can do some lunchtime activities that are connected to the period right after our class period.”

As of March 14, Safe has yet to decide whether to move her current fifth-period yearbook class to fourth period. Doing so would bring ASB, Helios and The Accolade programs back in the same time frame, which was how it had been before this school year.

“I really hope that will be the case this fall,” Accolade adviser and English and journalism teacher Tommy Li said. “Having all of us in either fourth or fifth period prevents students from spreading themselves too thin by serving in the ASB Period 3, then writing for the school newspaper the next period and then taking pictures for the yearbook in fifth period.

“This was the type of schedule I started out with when I was first hired to teach here in 2001, and I hope we’ll stick with it for the rest of the time I’ll be working here.”

Students, however, remain mixed about having to go through another change again.

“I actually like the new schedule because I feel like zero, first, second and third period is just way too much at one time,” said freshman Jaden Shim, who first found out about the updates on March 29 through his friends. “So it’s just kind of a nice distribution of breaks.”

 Sophomore Sienna Shah agrees.

“I like the idea of having break first and then lunch because I think I’m not really that hungry for lunch at 11:30 in the morning, and having it later just helps my body clock, especially when I’m not hungry,” Shah said.

Student-athletes will be the most affected by the new class times.

“I think personally, as someone who plays sports, I don’t really like the new schedule because normally we’d get out after fifth period,” said junior Ryder Robbins, who plays for the junior varsity boys volleyball team. “But now that fifth period is after lunch, we have to stay for lunch and then go to fifth period, so I feel like it makes the day longer than normal.”

Contrary to the student athlete’s thoughts on the new schedule, boys basketball coach Joe Ok said he prefers the change.

“We’re already starting school at 8:30 a.m., so I don’t think there’s going to be that much of a difference,” Ok said. “Students are still going to have to miss fifth period to leave for sports, so I think it will overall feel the same.”

Nevertheless, Weinreich said reverting to a traditional bell schedule — the same one he had when he first taught here in 1999 — the next school year doesn’t mean it’s a done deal.

“We always look at [the bell schedule] again each year to make sure [it works], but hopefully, it sticks, and everybody’s happy and satisfied with it,” the principal said. “And hopefully, we’ll be OK from that point.”

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Faith Jung
Faith Jung, Entertainment Editor
After spending her first year on The Accolade staff as the social media manager, junior Faith Jung returns as the arts & entertainment editor for the 2023-2024 school year. Jung is excited to work with the rest of the staff once again to write more stories and expand the influence of the school paper. Aside from working for The Accolade, Jung often takes part in community service, club activities and studying. She also likes to watch Korean dramas and hang out with her friends in her free time.
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