For some time, Everest has considered changing its academic calendar to a 12-week trimester system rather than the common school system of quarters and semesters. The 20-21 school year and its circumstances made such a decision even more advantageous. Over the course of the year, 6-12 grade students now take five courses per trimester in addition to their elective course rather than seven courses and an elective course. Everest piloted the trimester system for the 20-21 academic year and continues to assess both its advantages and potential disadvantages for students and faculty.
There are many benefits for students and staff with the trimester system including slightly longer class periods allowing for better focus and less time lost in transitions as well as a reallocation of workload with fewer courses to manage. The reallocated course load for both teachers and students provides more time for preparation and learning while covering all course content and meeting important graduation requirements without reduction of Everest’s high standards both for student support and their subsequent success. During the weeks of mandated distance learning in December, the course load was more easily managed by students with fewer courses.
“The trimester schedule allows me to better prepare for my classes. With the longer planning period and fewer subjects each, I am able to focus my attention on improving instruction. The longer class periods enables me to have deeper discussion and more enriching activities in class with my students. Even the transition to trimesters, which required a considerable time commitment, has been fruitful, because it produced a serious examination of my curriculum and lesson plans. Redundancies were eliminated to make room for major concepts. In most classes, I am ahead of schedule compared to last year.” -Mr. Nguyen, High School Math
As part of the ongoing assessment of the trimester system, students were asked for feedback about their workloads, learning, overall formation, course management, and school/life balance. “I love this schedule. I always have football practices. It finishes about 6pm. I do have a a lot of time to do my homework. I have a less homework and tests, but sometimes class is too long. Sometimes I can’t focus during the class. But I love the trimester schedule.” Another student shared, “It lessens my workload a bit, and it isn’t as hard to keep up with my classes.”