It seems like just yesterday we started the school year and were worried that we may not make it a month without shutting down. We are almost halfway through the school year and are pleased that our doors have remained open five days a week. Our students are in school learning, growing, and getting involved with whatever activities we can offer. We are still faced with daily challenges, but our staff, students and families continue to provide the encouragement and support we need to have a wonderful school.
We have started planning for the 2021-22 school year. Staff and students have been happy with the change we made for 2020 from an eight-period day to a block schedule. We have come to recognize the value of having more daily instructional minutes with students but are looking for an even better fit for our school. Building off the block schedule, we are considering the development of a more consistent and flexible schedule that is found in a trimester schedule for the junior/senior high school. At the December board meeting I was able to brief the school board on a “draft” version of what a trimester schedule would look like.
A trimester schedule allows for five instructional periods that are approximately 70 minutes in length. It divides the school year into three terms. The first trimester would end in mid-November prior to Thanksgiving and the second trimester would end in early March. Each trimester would be approximately 12 weeks in length. A 1 credit class would meet for two trimesters and a .5 credit class would meet for one trimester. The school day would run very similar to this year as far as start and end times. We would still have a GIT period either in the middle or end of the school day.
The key factor in developing any schedule is making sure we are focused on student learning and getting our students what they need to be successful. Along with that, we want to make sure we are efficient and effective with the utilization of our teachers. We want to provide as many daily instructional minutes while minimizing the number of courses students are taking on a daily basis. This will also limit the number of minutes spent transitioning to and from classes.
The trimester schedule would not have study halls which is similar to our current block schedule. We will continue to investigate options for scheduling over the next few weeks. I plan to meet with students to get some feedback from them along with offering some Q & A sessions for parents after our Holiday break. Look for more information on this in January.