Saturday, January 9th, 2010
Course choice to expand
Celina High School
By William Kincaid
Photoshop, forensic science, comparative anatomy - these are just a few of the additional courses students at Celina High School can take next year under the new trimester schedule.
Students at Celina High School will choose from these and other class choices in February for a new five-period, trimester schedule set to replace the traditional nine-period, quarter system used for the last ten years.
It is intended to allow students to focus on fewer subjects at any given time and take more electives.
The trimester schedule was presented as an alternative to the current schedule where students are often subjected to a heavy course load. Also too much time is being wasted out of class, according to High School Principal Jason Luebke.
With less time spent outside of the classroom, students will be able to enroll in classes that otherwise would not be available.
Some students are excited while others are hesitant about the coming transformation that will expand each period from 42 to 65 minutes.
"The more they know, the better they feel," Luebke said about the trimester. He said students should receive their approved schedules this summer.
Many teachers are enthusiastic about the new schedule,as well.
"I'm really excited about the extra courses I can teach," English teacher Kelly Black said.
Black, who has taught at the school for 14 years, was asked by Luebke if she had any ideas for new electives.
Next year, she will teach creative writing II and successful speaking.
Those in creative writing II will contribute content, edit and publish the school's literary magazine and participate in workshops where they will critique others students' work.
In addition to learning critical thinking and writing skills necessary for college and many jobs, the students will engage their imaginations in ways often not afforded by the state-mandated curriculum.
"I'm trying to bring that back out in the kids," she said, adding that her students in Creative Writing I compose poems, songs and scripts.
Successful speaking, Black's second new class confirmed for next year, will prepare students for talking in front of groups of people.
Other new classes proposed for next year include guitar, history of pop music, earth and space science and leadership for life, Luebke said.
But whatever core subject or elective classes students choose, they will stay in each of their classes next year for 65 minutes - 23 minutes more than this year's periods.
The longer classes are intended to allow teachers to instruct more in depth.
"I think the trimester is more like a college schedule," Luebke told the newspaper this week. "It's really beneficial to all students."
In an infromational handout, Luebke wrote that teaching for retention and teaching fewer concepts to a deeper level is the aim of the trimester.
Success is likely dependent on each teacher sustaining the attention of their students by varying instruction.
To do so, a class might be broken into a lecture, lab and group projects.
"It's all about how we approach it in the classroom," Luebke said. "They'll (teachers) adapt - it's going to take some time."
Teachers will receive professional development to prepare for the transition, such as an in-service session scheduled for March 30. A guest speaker will talk about varying instruction.
"Our teachers have to buy into it," Luebke said about a successful trimester. "It's got to come from teachers."
"We all have to work together," Black said.
The following trimester issues were addressed in a fact sheet provided by Luebke:
• No other school in Celina's vicinity is on the trimester. However, many schools in Indiana and Michigan have been using trimesters for many years. Schools in the Toledo and Cincinnati areas and throughout Ohio are beginning to implement this schedule.
• Research indicates retention of content is higher when it is taught for depth as opposed to breadth.
• An absence will be more costly because periods are longer.
• Each department will develop a scope and sequence that is strickly adhered to by all its members.
• Band and choir programs will actually have a greater amount of time during the school day.
• Tri Star will operate in the same capacity as it does now under the current quarter schedule. Grades will be reported quarterly for Tri Star classes and on the trimester schedule for regular classes.
• The main advantage is students will focus on fewer subjects at any given time.
• The post-secondary class option would remain as it is. However, school officials are working to expand their partnership with Wright State University-Lake Campus to develop more dual enrollment options to high school students for college credit.