New schedule for 2018-2019 features daily chapel, weekly masses  

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Chase Bennett

Among the numerous changes occuring next year, Malvern welcomes their sixth new schedule in a row for the 2018-2019 school year.

The new schedule to be rolled out in the fall looks similar to this year’s, but new highlights include a daily chapel, weekly masses, a shortened Community Time and shortened afternoon break.

“The idea of this schedule coming into this year is providing a level of consistency that I think a lot of people have been after,” Sillup said. “To be able to say there’s a consistency to this and this is what it would look like, was the goal this time around.”

All class periods next year will be locked at 60 minutes besides third period, allowing for an extra ten minutes for lunches.

The new schedule will still contain a 30 minute community time after first period but a shorter break after fourth period lasting only ten minutes.

“What we had heard from a lot of conversations was that the 20 minute afternoon break was too much,” Sillup said. “OK, let’s shave it down. I think there is a value to having a little bit of a rhythm to go get a drink, get a snack, restroom, whatever it might be, and close out your day.”

The 2018-2019 schedule will also only feature two different variations: a regular schedule and an activities schedule for masses and other events requiring allotted time.

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“We want to help students develop a skill set that’s very Augustinian, looking within yourself and being present with God.”

-Dr. Rick Poce

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“Essentially the the charge was to not change the schedule but to have a schedule that would allow for chapel starts and weekly mass,” Sillup said. “The clarity will be having only two schedules, no P.D. [Professional Development] schedules.”

This year, Professional Development schedules cut classes short to 45 minutes and dismissed students at 2 p.m. Following the students’ dismissal, faculty and staff used this time for meetings during the 2017-2018 school year.

“I realized that P.D. schedules present such a different rhythm for 45 minutes versus 60,” Sillup said. “Even teachers are feeling, ‘Wow, how am I going to work through this content or this project?’ Preserving that contact time [between teacher and student] felt really important.”

Replacing P.D. schedules next year will instead be “P.D. days.” These days serve as a day off from classes for students and a day for development for the faculty.

“P.D. schedules felt very abrupt, felt tricky. We bundled the days around very natural breaks such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, even a Monday after a M.E.C.O. weekend,” Sillup said. “We intended for the days not to be disruptive in any way. We wanted to bundle them at places where we already use that time in that way.”

Another new change in the schedule that has caught the eyes of students is the new chapel starts everyday. Students will spend twenty minutes in the chapel daily following homeroom from 8:25 to 8:45, immediately heading into their first periods afterwards.

“The goal is basically to get a good five to ten minutes of meditative activity each day, along those lines,” Twelfth Grade Academy LeaderDr. Rick Poce, who will lead the services said. “The activity is going to be a centering type of prayer or centering. That could simply be teaching students how to get their day organized in terms of their thoughts.”

Sillup also hopes the morning chapel will bring the community together as a whole and help bond or unify the school.

“It could be a wonderful time to make school-wide announcements. We will all be together, middle school through seniors which consistently, we don’t do right now,” Sillup said. “The idea is to start as a community [with a] diverse set of experiences and then set the stage for a really successful day.”

A requirement for the chapel in the morning is that attendance is mandatory, even for seniors.

According to Sillup, the new mandatory chapel will eliminate senior privilege, the ability for seniors to arrive late at school if they have an open block during their first periods.

“It will be tough to do because we believe in the community experience so I don’t see that being possible,” Sillup said. “With the chapel start, I don’t see how the two can coexist right now in those ways.”

During an assembly on May 23, Head of School Fr. Don Reilly O.S.A. announced to the student body that the administration is willing to talk about a replacement policy for senior privilege. Reilly acknowledged that there should be something to acknowledge the senior class but has not yet figured out what it will be.

Members of the junior class who will be seniors next year have expressed their views about the removal of the policy.

“I think chapel everyday next year isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I just think it’s kind of out of the way,” junior Connor Cary said. “I just think it’s unfair for seniors because [Malvern is] going to take away the senior privilege that we have been waiting for since we were freshmen.”

Some believe that the time used in chapel is unnecessary and would prefer for their privilege to return.

“I don’t think we should have chapel in the morning every single day next year because I want to come in late during my opens,” junior Ryan Mills said. “We get enough break during the day anyways, we don’t need more in the morning.”

“I think the quiet time in the morning is a good idea, good concept, but I don’t think we need it everyday,” junior Trevor Henderson said. “We could maybe do it on Wednesdays when we have Mass so we could be prepared and focused for the day.”

Although he offered different ideas for the chapel, Henderson is still not fond of the idea.

“As a senior, I’m not really a fan because it takes away from our privilege because [the chapel] is mandatory,” Henderson said. “I think it’s unfair because we have been waiting all these years and now it’s being taken away from us.”

Despite student concerns about the schedule change, Poce anticipates that morning chapel may help students to focus on the school’s Augustinian values.

“There’s definitely going to be a teaching aspect such as mindfulness, learning how to be in the present and not in the past or future,” Poce said. “We want to help students develop a skill set that’s very Augustinian, looking within yourself and being present with God.”

Printable pdf of the schedule can be found here.