Freshmen weren't the only ones challenged to find their bearings Monday, as students started their first day of classes at Lake Park High School in Roselle.
Returning students and staff also faced a challenge, as the school unveiled a restructured day that starts classes a bit earlier and extends both lunch and passing periods.
"Everyone adjusted beautifully," said Jim Roberts, principal of Lake Park's East Campus.
Lake Park was among the earliest schools to start this year, with the majority of high school districts - including Glenbard District 87, Naperville Unit District 203 and Indian Prairie Unit District 204 - starting next week.
Others, like DuPage District 88, don't head back to class until early September.
Lake Park's restructured day, approved by the District 108 school board last spring, brings students to school 10 minutes earlier, creates longer passing periods and nearly doubles lunch periods from 25 to 48 minutes.
The extra time was created by shaving two minutes off academic periods and making all periods 48 minutes. The schedule also eliminates split classes, where students would previously attend class for 25 minutes, eat lunch, then return to the same class.
"It's a much more sensible schedule and one that presents students a lot more opportunities for extra study and help during their free period," Roberts said.
Some students are actually assigned to extra tutoring or mentoring during a portion of their lunch period, while others may use the free time for computer or writing labs, or to just eat a longer lunch.
"The real beauty of it is it will meet the needs of students who need more academic support," Roberts said.
Lake Park freshmen such as Maliha Rizvi were none the wiser to the changes, and focused Monday on learning to navigate their new school.
"It's been kind of hard, getting lost from the classes and the locker combination, but it became easy later in the day," Rizvi said.
As classes start later this month and next throughout DuPage County, some students at facilities such as Naperville Central, Willowbrook and Addison Trail high schools may find themselves similarly readjusting.
The three schools are all undergoing major renovations that are changing the schools' aesthetics, technology and adjusting parts of their layouts.
Athletes at Willowbrook and Addison Trail are getting a sneak peek this week, as they begin practices that are letting them see the new field houses at both campuses.
Sherri Anderson, spokeswoman for both high schools, said the changes will be a positive adjustment.
"Everyone is really excited to start this new school year and to really see these new changes look like," she said. "It's a really exciting time."