The Bell Doesn’t Dismiss You, I Do


Olivia Wurtz

Students this year are having to adjust to no longer being dismissed by bells.

With the start of a new school year, changes are inevitable. However, this years’ modifications to the schedule are perhaps some of the most drastic in Lake Ridge history, with the addition of a fourth lunch, longer classes, and the complete elimination of bells.

According to PEIMS Specialist at Lake Ridge High School, Susan Jantz, Lake Ridge had 2483 students enrolled at the end of last year, meaning almost 400 additional students enrolled at Lake Ridge over the span of the summer, making it necessary to both eliminate some time off each passing period as well as add an extra lunch. This presented several interesting logistical issues, according to Assistant Principal, Rob Romaguera, and so a complete renovation of the bell schedule was necessary.

“Our main reason for changing the bell schedule this year was that our population is increasing. We’re approaching 2,800 kids this year, so the systems that we had in place are no longer effective. We always have to be forward-thinking and adaptive to our situation, so we not only changed our bell schedule but we also decided to not have an audible bell this year, as well as adding an extra lunch to the mix,” said Romaguera.

However, with the elimination of a minute from each passing period, it becomes difficult for students to get to each class on time, according to senior, Aaron Libed. Not only is there a crunch for time, but now the times each class end are odd, making it a challenge for students to remember when each class ends and begins.

”I think the new schedule is sub par, frankly. The uneven times are too difficult to keep track of, and the formative passing period is too short. It’s become real difficult to get to each class on time, so I’m going to have to make a deal with some of my teachers eventually,” said Libed.

This year’s Bell Schedule include an extra 3 minutes in class, a fourth lunch, and shorter passing periods.

With the added challenge, teachers and administrators are willing to compromise in order for students to get to class in a safe and timely fashion. Marking tardies will still be commonplace, however, a conversation with a student’s teacher can help keep students from running in the halls.

“The tardy system is going to stay essentially intact, however, we’re not unreasonable. For example, if someone has to go all the way from band to room 318, you can always communicate with your teacher about your situation and they should show you some leniency, unless you’re showing a complete disregard to time and your schedule,” said Romaguera.

This year’s changes go beyond shorter passing periods. There have been mixed reactions from teachers, some believing the change is unnecessary, while others, such as AP Macroeconomics teacher, James Shanzer, welcomes the opportunity to go through another activity with their students. Shanzer believes that those few extra minutes allow for him to not only finish up some worksheets, but also to make a positive learning environment for his students.

“I don’t mind it in the least. I think what I appreciate about it is that I don’t feel constrained by the bells, even though we still have to follow the schedule and there are parameters. I, personally, like to spend at a minimum 3 minutes each class period doing stuff that I think builds relationships with my students, so even if people don’t think I’m using that time, I am using that time to establish community in my classroom,” said Shanzer.

These changes have been planned by the Lake Ridge High School Administrative team since the end of last year, according to Romaguera, as they projected that the school would grow immensely between the 2018-2019 school year and the 2019-2020 school year – and they were correct. Lake Ridge is now the fastest-growing school in Mansfield ISD, as also evidenced by the major traffic congestion on Day Miar every morning and afternoon.