Mod Schedule Upends Covid’s Agenda at Duchesne
Walking onto Duchesne’s campus this year, you may feel as though you are walking through a small college campus instead of a Catholic high school. Among chatter of socially distanced events from the weekend, there is an unmistakable excitement about what’s happening at Duchesne. My classmates are excited about the things they’re learning in the unique classes as a part of their new Mod schedule.
The Mod schedule is 6 Mods of 30 days. In each day, there are four classes, picked out for each student by each student. The new Mod schedule has allowed students to explore their interests and learn about things they want to learn about.
“I enjoy the fact that I get more variation in classes I get to take, so there’s more room for opportunities or chances that might not be offered if we were sticking to a classic, seven schedule,” said junior Olivia Watson. Students are getting a college experience that better prepares them for matriculation into their future college.
In the English department, there’s classes such as In Theory. . . Its Star Wars, Brontës in Depth, Monsters Inc., Journalism, and classes specifically focusing on writing creatively, such as Dive into Your Imagination.
In the Science department, there’s The Physics of Harry Potter, a class taught by the beloved academic dean and physics teacher, Mrs. Alaina Scorsone. Mrs. Scorsone said her favorite part of the Mod schedule is that it allows students to have better balance, so they can focus on fewer courses at one time. She said she loved teaching The Physics of Harry Potter course because its proving that what we call magic is physics.
But the fun science classes don’t stop there. Forensic Science, Genetic Disorders, and Epidemiology are just a few student-favorites.
In the history department, there’s Intro to Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Genocide Studies, International Film, and Open Your Own Business. Student government Vice President and St. Thomas High School cheerleader, Gianna Santasiero, raved about the new Open Your Own Business class (which teaches students about ethics, strategies, and aspects of the business industry, much like college business classes).
“It prepares you for the real world and a work environment,” said senior Sana Abdulaziz. The business class was her personal favorite because its more hands on and independent. She was excited to cultivate her own ideas and visions.
There are also new P.E. classes offered, such as Bowling, PiYo, Sunrise Yoga, and Zumba. In the fine arts department, there’s Chemical Photography, Painting, Fibers, and Cake Art. American Sign Language is offered alongside the classic Spanish and French classes.
Dr. Donald Cramp, the head of the upper school, is the mastermind behind the whole program. Dr. Cramp has spent two years building the Mod.
“After receiving research and interviews done by different universities for scheduling and we did our own research based on their suggestions, we fell in love with what the Mod could do for our students and faculty," said Dr. Cramp. "With this schedule we saw the potential to create less stress, a greater sense of health and wellness, the ability to have more project/skills-based learning, and less homework. The Mod also offers different types of learning assessments and no midterms or finals."
The Mod schedule encompasses 5th grade to 12th grade, and there are no current plans to extend it to the lower school. Dr. Cramp believes that the Mod Schedule gives Duchesne students a chance to familiarize themselves with what a college experience looks like.
"The new classes allow colleges to see our students be more diversified, which colleges were suggesting we do. It is allowing students to explore their passions in athletics and academics and show that to colleges. It allows students to have more family time," said Dr. Cramp. "We had hoped it would prepare the girls for a 21st century college experience: very project and researched based, but there’s storytelling and different ways to assess and inspire students. Our students will go to college and have that same experience.”
The Cramp blueprint seems to be working. Duchesne Senior and Student Government President Ramsey Ruffeno noted that her favorite class was the newly offered Communications and Community Relations Internship.
“The Communications Internship is a program that Duchesne started where students can learn how to control the social media programs at Duchesne and do work with alum outreach,” said Ramsey. According to Cramp, next year students may see classes such as Marine Biology, Native American literature, Black American women literature, Poetry and Novels by Irish Writers, History of Mathematics, Intro to Linear Algebra, Intro to Culinary Arts, Cabaret, Music Video Dance, and Storytelling Through Dance.
In a year when many students face remote school and other Covid-related adjustments, Duchesne’s Mod schedule experiment seems to have been prescient and now paying early dividends. The Mod schedule may just have cracked the Covid learning code.
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