Board members weigh in on high school schedule |

Board members weigh in on high school schedule

There is no perfect schedule, Summit school board members acknowledged at their Tuesday meeting.

Nonetheless, as they and high school administrators consider changes to the Summit High School schedule – which hasn’t been altered for more than two decades – there are goals to meet, such as the criteria laid out as the revision process began more than a year ago.

Out of several things they wanted any schedule revision to accomplish or make room to accomplish, four were listed as most important:

>Create a more meaningful senior year,

>Increase frequency of student contact each week,

>Improve opportunities for intervention and enrichment, and

>Minimize impact of student travel and early release.

Most board members felt all four are met to some degree in the two options currently being considered – a seven-period and eight-period modified block schedule.

Though she said she doesn’t have a strong opinion toward one schedule over the other, boardmember Alison Casias said she’d like to see even more frequent meetings in certain subjects. She also expressed concerns about the scheduling restrictions of the seven-period version, noting that students may not have much time for electives.

Board vice president Sheila Groneman had questions about the accessibility of the zero- and eighth-period optional classes built into the seven-period schedule, and wondered how the extra time would affect teacher contracts.

Several board members questioned how the schedules would create a more meaningful senior year for students, particularly if graduation requirements don’t change.

Board treasurer Brad Piehl said he felt the high school administrators and board members should first determine what they want to a high school graduate to look like, then build the schedule that accommodates that vision.

“I think we’re doing this backwards,” he said. “Right now … it’s hard to say what fits.”

Summit High School principal Drew Adkins and vice principal Gretchen Nies fielded the questions, saying that if school district transportation isn’t available, the Summit Stage bus stop is virtually on school property. Adkins noted that zero period classes are already in place and being used by some students, and eighth-period classes could accommodate electives such as theater.

“Opportunities for electives does decrease with the seven-period (modified) block schedule,” Adkins said.

Board members noted which schedule they leaned toward, with three preferring the seven-period version, one preferring the eight-period version and two not having much preference. Boardmember J Kent McHose was not present.

School district spokeswoman Julie McCluskie said Adkins and Nies will take the school board’s feedback, particularly the emphasis on the frequency of class meeting times, to the scheduling work group for discussion.

Adkins said he and Nies had another schedule with more frequent class meeting times that they could show to board members.

“They may look at yet another schedule, but whether they bring a third schedule or stick with these two, the plan is to make a decision at the February 8 board meeting,” McCluskie said.

Also at the meeting, board members accepted a $3,500 individual donation to Summit High School, to be used at Adkins’ discretion. Adkins said he’s unsure of the specifics of how the money will be used, but other donations this school year have gone to bringing more technology into the classroom, such as adding mini laptops to the collection, literacy software, flip video cameras and more.

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