A new class schedule may be implemented in the future at Washington High School.
Principal Dr. Kelle McCallum said a schedule study will get underway this school year to determine if the current schedule is meeting the needs of students and staff, and whether another model might be a better option.
The high school currently follows a traditional seven-period schedule which meets every day. The classes meet for 50 minutes.
McCallum discussed the study at last Wednesday’s school board meeting. She first presented the idea back in March.
The goal, she said, is to find a schedule that allows students to take as many of the classes they want to and provide a good teaching environment for staff at the same time.
“I do want to stress we are not for sure making any changes, just looking at options,” she said.
McCallum hopes to have a recommendation to the school board in January. Implementation of a new schedule may take a year or two depending on the type of schedule preferred and any training involved.
“We may decide just to keep the schedule we have, but I think it’s something we need to look at,” she said. “We haven’t really studied the schedule in my tenure at the high school, which is going on 21 years, so it’s time.”
McCallum is beginning her third year as principal at Washington High School. She served as assistant principal for 10 years and prior to that worked in the guidance department.
A steering committee comprised of 10 teachers will begin the review process, along with McCallum. The teachers will include five who are teaching core classes, including math, science, language arts and social studies, and five teaching noncore, elective classes.
“We are working on the meeting schedule now and plan to visit several schools that follow other schedules, such as block scheduling or some other hybrid model,” she said.
McCallum said St. Francis Borgia Regional High School follows an eight-block schedule with a Blue Day and Gold Day which meet every other day. The class periods are 90 minutes.
Another model is a four-block schedule that meets every day for 90 minutes. The students would take only those four classes for the semester, earning one credit for each. The next semester they would take another four classes.
“The advantage to the four-block is that the teacher has those students every day for a longer period so they can dig deep,” McCallum said. McCallum said subcommittees/focus groups also will be formed to gather more input, including from parents and students.