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Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

BOE votes unanimously to switch to trimesters

By William Kincaid
Celina High School will switch from a quarterly year with nine-period days to a five-period, trimester schedule next school year.
Despite the skepticism and hesitation of two board members, the resolution passed unanimously on Monday night during a school board meeting.
"I think our kids are looking forward to it. I know I am," Superintendent Matt Miller said, adding that it will be a good move for the district.
The trimester system will reduce the daily schedule of nine, 42-minute classes to five, 65-minute classes.
There will be three trimesters through the year, each lasting 12 weeks, instead of four quarters lasting nine weeks.
According to high school Principal Jason Luebke, trimesters will eliminate time wasted on non-academic purposes. Time spent outside the classroom would be reduced from 119 minutes to 85 minutes. Study hall will be replaced with a 30-minute, advisory/homeroom period in the middle of the day.
The new system also will allow students to earn 30 credits during their high school career instead of 26 credits.
No other school in Celina's vicinity is on trimesters, Luebke has said.
Board member Ken Fetters - who said he is skeptical about trimesters - wondered what kind of time frame administrators would employ to determine if trimesters were not working, to which he received no definitive answer.
Board member Cindy Piper said she was concerned that some parents may not have all the information, even though various presentations were given by Luebke. Piper also said she wanted to know if the teachers supported the change.
Luebke replied that there has been positive dialogue and feedback from the teachers, who are looking forward to moving ahead with the proposal and preparing for it.
"It's just hard to know what you think is going to be good," she said.
"It's something new. It's a leap of faith," board President Matt Gilmore added.
Every question asked by the public and school board has been addressed, Gilmore said, pointing out there will be naysayers.
"Are you convinced this is the right thing for the school?" Gilmore asked Luebke and Miller, who both replied "yes."
"What is the risk versus the reward, that's what we're weighing," Gilmore added.
"It can be absolutely wonderful or a disaster," board member Connie Paulus said, explaining that teachers need time and the commitment of board members to prepare for the change.
Down the road, teachers are going to need either a stipend or extra time to prepare for the schedule change, Piper said.
Board members unanimously approved the resolution after the discussion.
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