Seven classes establish new opportunities

Allowing more than six classes per semester grants more flexibility and less stress for students


Grinding Away: Juniors Hannah Branham, Joely McManus, Selena Alonzo, Marrianna Shea, and MacKenzie Conniff take extra time after school to finish up assignments in the Learning Commons. Many students utilized this space after hours to get caught up on their workload.

Lake Stevens High School should implement a bell schedule to allow seven classes per semester. Schools are often looking for ways to optimize their students’ learning experiences, and one way that has grown in popularity in recent years is the installation of a seven-period schedule. By expanding the number of periods in a day, the high school can provide more academic freedom to the student body. 


Before 2019, high school students only needed 22.5 credits to graduate, meaning a student could fail a class and would not need to scramble to make up for the lost credit. After the Washington House Bill 1599 was passed, that number increased to 24. With the six periods allotted per school year and four years of high school, students are only allowed the exact number of courses they need to obtain the required credentials. 

“Once the state moved us to a 24 credit graduation requirement, we crippled our struggling students,” teacher Amy Fry said. 

The current system doesn’t leave a lot of room for students to explore their personal interests. With only six periods available, students may find it difficult to fit in all the courses they want or need to take. Those who fail a class are often forced to take summer school, online courses or repeat a grade. These options take away a large chunk of a student’s personal time and are often seen as punishment instead of progression. 


Enacting a new schedule that accommodates for seven periods instead of the usual six covers all of these issues. Students who need to remediate failed classes won’t have to take summer classes and will be graced with a more accessible way to make up the credit. Students who want to explore subjects outside of their required courses will have more schedule flexibility. And students who don’t take up the seventh class will have extra time on campus to talk to teachers and counselors, socialize with peers and work for their other classes. 

“I personally would use [a seventh period] as a study hall to catch up on work and be productive,” sophomore Sasha Atwood said. 


Many other schools in Washington have already begun using the seven-period schedule, reporting improvements in academic achievement. According to Schedule Matters, a study conducted on the efficiency of different scheduling systems, schools using the seven-period programs performed significantly better than those using any of the other schedule types. 


One major disadvantage of a seven period day is that students and teachers have seven classes to prepare for. Teachers will have more classes to juggle, reducing time to grade, teach, and individually help each student. On some days, students will have multiple tests to study for. While this does have some positive benefits, such as having students learn better time management skills, it can make it more difficult for them to adequately prepare for all their classes. 


Implementing change often takes time and is met with resistance, and using an entirely new bell schedule would certainly generate schedule conflicts. 

“[A new schedule] could interfere with students who have work or sports after school,” junior Samuel Bixby said. 

In the short term, the change between the different schedules will likely be messy, but that drawback will only mend itself with time and widespread implementation. As the altered schedule becomes more common and families get used to the change, the Lake Stevens community would ultimately benefit from the new opportunities for exploration and educational freedom. 


The seven-period high school day offers equity and opportunity for all students, allowing for more chances to explore different elective courses they may be interested in. 

“[The schedule] would be beneficial for kids who want to go ahead and finish all their credits earlier or find new courses they wouldn’t otherwise be able to take,” sophomore Isaac Finley said. 


Adopting a new schedule will take a lot of effort and open mindedness from teachers and students alike, but the temporary buzz from the transition from six periods to seven will eventually die down, outweighed by the benefits of the increased breathing room. With more time for electives and advanced courses, students have more time to explore their interests and prepare for their future careers. Ultimately, the benefits of an expanded curriculum make it a worthwhile consideration for the school to improve its educational offerings.