As the 2017-18 ‘Iolani school year draws to a close, many sixth graders preparing for seventh grade and the new changes they will face. Entering a new environment can be unsettling and unfamiliar for students. Not only will they have to find classes by themselves but they will not be able to walk with their whole class. As class rotations get more complicated, and the periods longer, the incoming seventh graders will have to find their new classes in different buildings. Without companions to accompany them, seventh graders will need to navigate around campus as they find new classes in different buildings around campus.
In the Lower School, class rotations are incorporated into the sixth grade school day. These rotations allow students to switch classes with their homeroom classmates and friends without the worry of being lost. The seventh graders schedule make it so students individually find classes, which can prove challenging as classes are farther away and sometimes hard to find it is not made for switching by class but made for the students. The class schedule grants the students to individually find classes, but giving up their friends and classmates to walk with. Although classes are farther away and sometimes hard to find, as the year progresses the students will get used to the schedule and feel more comfortable walking by themselves.
Along with finding classes, incoming seventh graders will also have to manage their time well. Both grade counselors and advisors have higher expectations for their students while also wanting them to have fun. “Be ready to spend more time on homework, said grade 7 counselor Peter Okumura “You will go from 3.5 core classes in 6th to 5 core classes in 7th. Use today's study hall for tomorrow's homework. Don't use today's study hall for today's homework. No one is expected to know all the answers so ask questions and attend extra help.” Through the long days and lots of homework, there are some fun activities interspersed throughout the school year. Activities such as, Homecoming, Lip Sync, and Cheerfest give young students the chance to let loose and relieve some of the stress brought on by school. However, as the class periods get longer and the classes farther apart many might no longer have time for these activities and would rather do schoolwork to get ahead. Many students will not have the luxury of having classes right next to each other. In the rare case of having classes close together, you are around Castle Building and have to walk a next door to the next room.
As long as the new seventh graders stick to the schedule and ask older students and teachers for help, they will have an easier time finding classes. But, they will not forget the old days of traveling with classes and becoming comfortable moving classes by themselves. Given that it takes some time to get used to the new schedule, students over the years have become more used to the schedules and the rotation days. Although it may seem easy, there are still weird days where you could have all classes in one day, or only four classes. No matter the schedule and no matter if you have classmates to walk with or not, seventh graders can look forward to the time of their lives exploring the Upper School.