Administration implements Wildcat Wednesdays


Photo Courtesy of Liann Keren

Administration holds a junior meeting during Wildcat Wednesday on Sept. 29. Students learned about COVID regulations in the building as well as testing schedules.

After a year of remote learning, the new in-person school year brings excitement as well as challenges to students and teachers. To help facilitate the transition from virtual to in-person learning, staff created a modified weekly schedule, Wildcat Wednesday.

Wildcat Wednesday, right in the middle of the school week, is designed as a day with shorter class periods. Teachers are expected to plan activities for each class that reinforce learning while avoiding introducing new material and piling more work for students.

Teachers are flexible in arranging their Wildcat Wednesday class activities, from making up missing assignments to offering study reviews to building relationships with classmates or teachers.

Also built into the day is a 40-minute homeroom period, which usually includes MCPS-mandated social-emotional development lessons and a longer lunch so that students can enjoy more time with their friends.

The idea for Wildcat Wednesday was based on the result of student surveys at the end of virtual learning. While reviewing students’ responses, World Language Resource teacher Lori Spak identified the need for a midweek booster.

“Students and staff really seemed to like the check-in day mid-week [last year], and appreciated the chance to review and reflect. We also knew we were all going to need help with transitioning back to five days a week with seven classes a day,” Spak said.

Spak communicated her thoughts with Assistant Principal Gail Samuels and the instructional leadership team. After multiple discussions over the summer, they came up with a solution to addressing the learning concerns—Wildcat Wednesday.

Samuels emphasizes that Wildcat Wednesday should be a laid-back time for students to recharge.

“We didn’t want to dictate the way [Wildcat Wednesday] looks,” Samuels said. “The idea is that the activities aren’t burdensome for the students.”

In addition to helping students adjust to the in-person school year, Wildcat Wednesday serves other purposes, such as filling in the learning gaps, improving the school climate and building community in the classroom.

“Wildcat Wednesday recognizes the social-emotional needs of everyone in the community,” Samuels said.

Many staff and students have expressed their support for the program. Among them is sophomore Selina Chan.

“Wildcat Wednesday allows me to use class time more freely, which makes me feel more relaxed,” Chan said. “For example, I can ask my teachers questions, do quiz retakes and catch up on assignments. Some of my classes have used fun methods like Kahoot and Quizlet Live to review material, which I’ve found helpful.”

Other students haven’t experienced the intended effect of Wildcat Wednesday yet.

“[Wildcat Wednesdays] feel almost identical to normal school days other than the shorter classes,” sophomore Daniel Bir said. “I feel like in many of my classes, we’ve been doing normal work—new content, homework assignments and even some quizzes.”

Since the in-person learning only started less than a month ago, it is still too early to see the full benefits of Wildcat Wednesday. Samuels feels confident about the prospects of the program.

“My ideal vision is that [Wildcat Wednesday] takes some of the worries off of the students,” Samuels said. “And I really think that’s going to happen.”