Block Schedule vs. Six Period Schedule

By Jeannie Lopez

At the Jan. 19 Exeter Union High School District meeting, the board did not make a final decision on whether or not the current schedule would be changed for the 2005-2006 school year.

After hours of discussion on the issue, it was decided by the school board that further research was necessary before making a decision.

EUHSD staff recommended the school district switch from block scheduling to a traditional six-period schedule effective the next school year. If the schedule changes are made, it will affect class size, student performance and state and district budget pressure.

Superintendent Renee Whitson believes that reducing class size will help students of EUHS become fully prepared in taking the California Standards Test (CST). Current CST scores show that EUHS students are not at a proficient level in mathematics and language arts.

Therefore, Whitson believes with a smaller class you gain better student performance and students will have daily contact in all classes. For class sizes will go from an average size of 30 students per teacher to 25 students.

The board also indicated that the district would be saving money if they changed to a six period schedule according to budget projections in the next three years.

At one time a parent expressed her opinion by saying that the district should not lower its standards even if it means saving money because that is not what our school is about.

Another big concern to parents about the schedule change is the extended time of the whole school day which is currently 7,830 minutes per course in a 180-day instructional year compared to an increase to 9,720 minutes therefore, allowing less times for after-school activities like sports, band or clubs.

Board member Ernie Hernandez said the district should not act on the recommendation to change the class schedule until a committee studies the information.

Superintendent Renee Whitson and President Marlene Sario said changing the schedule has been a issue for the last two years and the decision has to be made soon.

Board member Joe Conley agreed with some of the parents and staff that there is just not enough evidence to change the schedule. "We need to think about it thoroughly because this is a major issue."

Another concerned parent said she had a problem with the schedule change because students who excel in school may not be able to take AP classes, which would also be limited.

After two hours of severe discussion the board agreed to delay the change to EUHSD instructional schedules for the 2005-2006 school year until a steering committee was formed to address the issue.

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