ST. JOHN | Starting with the 2013-2014 school year, Lake Central High School students will follow a new modified version of the block-8 class schedule originally introduced in 1998.
Lake Central High Principal Robin Tobias unveiled the master schedule at Monday’s Lake Central School Corp. board meeting.
The new schedule reduces the number of class periods each week from eight to seven. Tobias said the new block-7 schedule was developed after discussions with parents, students, teachers and administrators.
“Block scheduling organizes the day into fewer, but longer, class periods to allow flexibility for instructional activities,” he said.
In block scheduling, the goal is to improve student performance and prepare students for the way college classes are taught, Tobias said.
However, an analysis of the current block-8 schedule revealed a number of concerns, including more than 2,800 students of the school’s 3,200 students are in study halls that weren’t being utilized, he said.
Some of the study halls are supervised by certified teachers who could be teaching, preparing and collaborating with other instructors, Tobias said.
“The teacher workload has increased. Most teachers are teaching seven of eight (periods) and have 220 students,” he said, adding that the increased class sizes leads to teacher stress and burnout.
Students also display burnout and there’s lack of focus on course selection, according to Tobias.
The new block-7 schedule keeps the alternating blue/white days format with four 90-minute class periods each day and “maximizes the instructional time of teachers and students,” he said.
On blue days, the students will go to their first- through fourth-period classes. On white days, the fifth- through seventh-period classes will meet. The fourth class on the white days will alternate between the first- through fourth-period classes.
“This increases contact time between students and teachers 540 minutes a semester and 1,080 minutes per year,” Tobias said. “Teachers will see each class six additional times per semester, 12 more times in a school year.”
It also means that classes will meet at least 10 additional times before the dates for end-of-course-assessment tests required by the Indiana Department of Education and the Advanced Placement tests that can earn high school students college credit.
Other advantages include promoting continued course work in career and technical education and college-ready courses, Tobias said.
Students who need additional study time can opt for a study hall, but those would likely be supervised by aides rather than certified teachers, he said.