This school year, Milken has already undergone an immense amount of changes. With a new schedule, free parking at the West Lot, Gesher weeks, and more, the student body was surprised to see so many modifications. In recent memory, Milken hasn’t had a “reinvented” academic life, and these changes created a lot of buzz in the Milken Community.
The West Lot
In previous years, the West Lot was a place where students with a carpool of four peers could park their cars for an outrageous price of $2,100. This was upsetting for many students because they pay a fortune for their education, and they did not have the means to spend an extra couple thousand dollars. Most students seeked alternatives to parking in West Lot, such as parking on Mullholland near AJU or in the Park and Ride off the 405 freeway, leaving the Lot nearly empty. Due to several students taking the safety and affordability issues into their own hands, Head of School Sarah Shulkind was persuaded to stop the issue of the West Lot once and for all. The West Lot is now free for all students who have had their license for over a year and a carpool of 3 other students. This is groundbreaking news for the Milken community because students attempted to lower the cost of the West Lot for years. To say the least, Milken students were ecstatic to be hearing this news.
Until this year, Milken had an A day/B day block schedule with 10 periods, no mandatory free time, and Advisory on Monday and Wednesday. Now, the whole schedule is reinvented. There are only 9 blocks in the school day, and there is a designated “free period” on B days. Additionally, in previous years, students faced the daily struggle to be on time for the next class because of the brief five minute passing periods. In order to combat this problem, passing periods were extended from five minutes to ten minutes, giving students the necessary amount of time to be prepared and punctual for classes. At first, many students opposed the new schedule because they preferred the old one. Now that the school year is well underway, it is widely accepted that this schedule is beneficial for the student body and teachers.
On Friday A day mornings, there is no longer simply Oneg or a town meeting. Now, X-Block, an hour-long period dedicated to the values of lishma, has been introduced. During this time, students can further their knowledge on certain optional ungraded classes, get extra help from college counseling or simply utilize the time as an additional free period. Through these optional courses, students do not feel the pressure and stress that accompanies the commitment to a graded class, therefore, students are simply enjoying learning.
Milken introduced a new program to enhance the senior experience and the transition to college. The word “gesher,” which means bridge in English, encapsulates the significance of the program as it bridges the gap between high school and college. During a three-week span, students will explore a subject of their choice, and they will dedicate this time to taking it in a “college course” style. Students will not attend any additional classes and, of course, the course will not be graded. Gesher weeks are dedicated to expanding students’ knowledge and intellectual growth before graduation. Although this shortens seniors’ extended summer break, which has caused some upset, students may enjoy the Gesher program because the interesting courses inhibit students from feeling bored while they wait for other schools to be on summer vacation as well.
Many students’ favorite part about attending Milken is the famous Milken Mart. It is a hotspot for socializing, snacking, making coffee, and buying the notoriously addicting breakfast burritos. Over the summer, the Mart underwent renovations, which was both shocking and exciting for the student body. Overall, the Mart is much more organized, with two separate lines (one for ordering hot food, and one for snacks), a more open layout, and a better display of the food options. Additionally, Vicki’s Lunchbox and the Mart have joined forces in supplying students with lunches. Now, both Vicki and Mart lunches can be bought by 10:30 AM in the Mart using a Milken Student ID.
These changes, whether expected or unexpected, caught the attention of the Milken community, with the reaction mainly being positive. While change can be hard, Milken students seem to be embracing these adjustments with open arms.