Although Mountain View High School and Los Altos High School are in the same school district, LAHS offers significantly less courses that MVHS during their zero period.
David Grissom, MVHS principal, clarifies that teachers cannot be required to teach zero period.
“In order to have a zero period, a teacher has to desire to teach a zero period,” Grissom said. “You can’t require a teacher to teach zero period. I don’t know if it’s a lack of teachers interested in teaching a zero period over there, but that certainly isn’t the case here.”
It is beneficial for a school to offer zero period classes. Without them, many classes would be moved to seventh period. However, this conflicts with MVHS athletics because practices are traditionally during seventh period. So, sports would need to move later into the afternoon if zero period classes were eliminated.
Early nightfall then causes issues with practice schedules, as it would be difficult for athletes to play in the dark.
“This would be a problem in the wintertime, with outdoor sports like soccer in particular,” Grissom said. “The sun sets so early in December, and that’s the middle of their season.”
Another problem without zero period classes is that many more athletes would be missing a class in order to participate in away games. Although many people already miss their classes for games, this would cause an increase in the number of people absent because of athletics, since more students would have seventh periods.
MVHS offering a substantial amount of zero period classes also allows students who want to take more classes to do so. An 8th period offered during the day opens up an extra slot for a class, giving students more flexibility with their schedules. MVHS would consider decreasing the amount of zero period classes offered, but according to Grissom, many students want to take more classes, and having that extra period helps with scheduling.
“In this community, it is not out of the realm to take seven classes,” Grissom said. “Which is part of the issue. Students need to be conscious of what decisions they’re making. Not everyone needs to take seven classes. If we could get more students to take what the recommended load is, which is six classes, then I think [potentially no longer offering a zero period would]be an easier beast to tackle.”