Tuesday, March 17th, 2009
Seven-period schedule may be changed to five
Committee proposing plan says current system wastes time out of class
By William Kincaid
Celina High School's quarterly schedule with seven classroom periods a day may change to a trimester year with five periods daily for the 2010-2011 school year.
High school Principal Jason Luebke presented the proposal created by a committee of 11 faculty members to board members on Monday night during a school board meeting.
"We really see a lot of problems with the schedule we're on," Luebke said.
Primarily, too much time is being wasted out of class, he said.
Each day, students spend a total of 35 minutes in between classes and 42 minutes on lunch, which Luebke believes is too long.
Most students have at least one or two study halls, and according to a 2008 high school survey, 54 percent answered yes to either sleeping, talking or doing nothing in study hall, he said.
When lunch, study halls and class transitioning are added, Luebke said students spend two of seven school hours out of the classroom.
In addition to the squandered time, Luebke said some students academic schedule is too heavy with seven classes, while each teacher's class time is too short.
After visiting Lakota West and Little Miami school districts near Cincinnati and Maumee and Springfield school districts near Toledo, committee members are researching the possibility of trimesters.
The new system - if eventually adopted by board members - would have five, 65-minute class periods. Lunch would be reduced to 30 minutes, and a limited version of study hall would exist.
One trimester would be 12 weeks long. Also, some classes would no longer be year-long, instead just scheduled for two-thirds of the trimester, with another class scheduled for the last one-third.
Every student would take a 30-minute advisory period at the same time of day, which could be used for academic intervention, a modified study hall or other school activities.
All assemblies, class meetings or clubs would take place during this time, preventing both teachers and students from missing other classes.
Luebke said the new system would allow students to get as many as 71/2 credits a year and 30 credits during the high school career. Currently, students can get only 61/2 credits a year and 26 credits in four years, he said.
Also, the trimester would reduce time spent outside the classroom from 119 minutes to 85 minutes, Luebke said.
"Again, this is just in the development stage," he told board members.
Board Vice President Connie Paulus asked if there would be issues with band, while board member Cindy Piper said she was concerned that students could take only band or choir, not both.
Luebke said the committee is still working on issues related to their questions.
Paulus said the trimester is a great thing, but she worried about the 46 percent of students who use their study halls wisely.
Luebke said the other schools he talked with said the study hall changes were not an issue, even with the honor students. In addition to having two less classes, the students may be able to get more work done in each period, he said.
"Extended periods allow teachers and students to work together on activities allowing more guided practice on the part of the student. This ensures a higher rate of homework completion and accuracy," Luebke wrote in information presented to the board.
He also said he would continually evaluate grades. If administrators learn the system doesn't work, they can try something else, he said.
Board member Amy Hoyng asked if teachers would have to change their instructional approach as they would have longer periods.
"We need 18 months to get ready for it," he replied.
According to a feasibility study, Luebke said there would be no changes in teachers or classes.
"If anything, it's going to add classes," he said.