Op/Ed 4/30/10

Loyalton High readies for schedule change

By Jillian Lane
Roar Writer

   Next year Loyalton High will offer a new schedule, called a block schedule.  Students will have eight full classes, four every other day on what will be called A and B days. That means that students will attend four full classes a day for longer periods of time, up to 90 minutes long.



   Academic advisor Janet McHenry said she understands that the switch to an eight-period schedule will “help keep elective classes in the schedule, even though the faculty will lose one or more teachers.”
   McHenry said she has been told that a short literacy homeroom period will probably also be added to the schedule, so that students will actually have nine classes next year.
   “The daily literacy period would be about a half hour long,” McHenry said, “with an emphasis on developing academic and other vocabulary, as well as reading comprehension skills.
   She noted that Principal Marla Stock has been a fan of the Accelerated Reader program used at the lower levels and that LHS may be experimenting with that program during the literacy period.
Educational researchers say there are benefits to using a block schedule.    One is to help prepare students for taking end-of-the-grade and end-of-the-course standardized tests that are used to measure student achievement.
   Another plus for the switch is to allow teachers to have additional time per class so that students can collaborate more and learn from each other, instead of having only teacher-delivered content. Some experts say that students learn better from peers than from adults.
Some students and staff dislike the proposed block schedule but others are pleased.
   “I think that the change will be nice, and something new will be cool for my senior year,” said Leanna Glennon.
Science and math teacher Caleb Dorsey had another take on the situation. “I’m not fond of the block schedule, because if some of my students were struggling with a problem, I wouldn’t be able to help them with it for another full day.”
   McHenry noted that typically English, art and science teachers like the block schedule, because they can set up writing projects and experiments. However, she said, foreign language and math teachers usually don’t care for it, because their students’ learning benefits from daily instruction.
   McHenry also noted that the changes will add an additional two classes to each teacher’s schedule and will take minutes away from their preparation period, “making it that much harder to prepare for the wide variety of courses that we do teach.”
   With all the opinions on this situation, it’s pretty clear that the A and B block schedule will be a reality for next year.
   So, students and staff of LHS: Say hello to the new block scheduling.


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