Scheduling Ideas for next year.

Good morning, Parents.

We are in the early stages of preparing for the scheduling process for classes next year, and I thought I would share some of the ideas we are discussing at this point. I will continue to keep you informed as we work our way through these decisions.

One change that we will discuss at our Faculty meeting tomorrow night has come up frequently in department discussions as we reflect on how things are working this year, and consider some changes that we believe would be improvements. This frequently mentioned change would be to how we use our intervention time during the lunch hour to support students in classes. We will be discussing making intervention placements for a more sustained period of time, 3 weeks, rather than day by day. We feel this will make intervention time much more effective at helping students catch up in classes, and it also would be structured much more like the “Winn groups” that the Elementary School has had so much success with for students. If a student was struggling in a class or falling a bit behind, we would assign them to intervention for three weeks, and in this way we could do more than just help them for 30 minutes, we could also prepare mini lessons to break down the skills they are struggling with and provide extra practice for skills not yet mastered. These groups would be flexible every three weeks so students who have worked hard and caught up with their classes, would be released, and if other students need the extra time and support, they would be added. With this type of flexible groupings over three week periods, we may be able to eliminate our structured study hall and possibly even our freshmen study hall during the middle of the day. It may also work as a more effective way to support students in Algebra and Chemistry rather than the Algebra-Support and Chemistry-Support blocks.

A class we are considering adding in our Science department at this point is a Science and Technology class taught by both a science teacher and a tech. ed. teacher. This would include both a classroom portion for science and a lab/shop portion for hands on learning. We would envision this being a very good replacement for Chemistry support if we found intervention time was more effective for helping students in Chemistry. We are also discussing taking a similar approach to use technology in teaching a lower level math class if we move forward to use intervention time to support students in Algebra. Also in the math department, we would like to offer an accelerated class to next year’s freshmen classes best math students that would have them taking Integrated Algebra and Geometry 1 & 2 in their freshmen year. We feel the best math students in the class will be able to handle this accelerated pace and in doing this they will still be on track to take AP Calculus as seniors if they wish. In the Science department, we plan to offer an additional class in Genetics/Microbiology. In the English department, we plan to offer only three classes for seniors—Adv. Composition, Novels, and a combined class of English 12/Speech. The English 12 semester will include many college and career readiness skills such as interview skills, continued emphasis on writing skills and grammar, as well as reading, while the Speech semester will focus on speech writing and presentation skills. And finally, our vocal music program is planning to offer a half credit class like Jazz Band in the Instrumental program, that will likely be a Vocal Jazz group that will meet during the intervention time every day.

Those are the improvements we are discussing and considering at this point. If you have questions at any point in the scheduling process, please feel free to call me or Josh Cole to get things clarified.

Have a great first week of February.

Scott