CUSD Board Hears Options For Changes To CHS Bell Schedule - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado City News

CUSD Board Hears Options For Changes To CHS Bell Schedule

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Posted: Thursday, November 21, 2019 11:01 am | Updated: 11:08 am, Thu Nov 21, 2019.

The Coronado Unified School District (CUSD) board voted on three items and heard several reports last week. A critical topic was presented by Coronado High School (CHS) Principal, Shane Schmeichel, the CHS Bell Schedule Update. But prior to that report, the board voted unanimously on two items: approval of the consent calendar and a stipend to support early announcement of staff retirements.

Partly in response to a requirement to add 40 more instructional minutes into the current school day, and partly with the goal of adding more flexibility into the schedule, CHS has been examining options for next school year. Thus far, Schmeichel said that all teachers at CHS have been participating in discussions. He said all freshman through juniors will be giving input over the coming weeks. Finally, he added that over the coming two months, all staff, parents and students will be given opportunities to give feedback. The first such opportunity is Wednesday morning’s Parent Teacher Organization meeting at 9 a.m. in the Black Box Theater.

First, Schmeichel explained the desire among parents and others for greater flexibility. Today, the standard is that students take six year-long courses. With the opportunity to have more classes – either through semester long courses, or more classes during the day – students might be able to have periods that could be used for study hall, tutoring, college application preparation, life skills, financial literacy, foreign language and/or band for those who currently are unable to pursue it, and even internships or job shadows. In some cases, there could be more preparation time built in for instructors.

Schmeichel then presented three options that are currently under consideration. The first, a seven-period schedule, would add an additional class into the school day. He noted that this option would add opportunities for students to have more electives, allow for full foreign language and career technical education (CTE) pathways without having to choose between them, and offer chances for remediation of course work where necessary. The cons of this option included increased cost, the possibility of more stress for students because of having one more class and that much more homework, and more preparation required from teachers.

The second option under consideration is a six-period model. Currently, the students take six periods, so there would be none of the downside of adding a period as above. The difference from today would simply be that each class would have additional instructional minutes with the extended day. The cons of keeping the same number of classes as today, but adding instructional minutes is that it doesn’t provide any more flexibility for students to take more classes than they have today. So, there is still little chance for students to explore other course areas or to remediate as necessary.

Finally, a third option is to have more blocks than today. In the current model, CHS students have two “block days,” wherein their classes are each longer and there are fewer classes each of those days. Such blocks allow for labs or other projects that might take more time than a standard class period would allow. Other benefits that Schmeichel noted are that blocks require fewer transitions and students only have to focus on half as much homework for each of their block days. The main cons suggested were that meeting half as often requires efficiency and the concern that because students would meet half as often with their teachers (albeit for twice as long each time), it could decrease connectedness between students and faculty.

The board raised two main questions. The first came from Trustee Simon, who asked whether the committee had considered a 4x4 schedule (this is a schedule where students meet for four ninety minutes blocks a day over four quarters). Simon indicated that she was asking because she and other board members toured some high performing schools in San Diego County that use this schedule. Schmeichel said that it had been eliminated as “not a good fit” for our school. He added, though, that one commonality among the highest performing high schools is that there are between seven and nine class periods (as opposed to our current six class model).

The second question came from President of the board, Lee Pontes, who wanted to know how much more the various models would cost. Schmeichel and Assistant Superintendent Donnie Salamanca both weighed in – Schmeichel on required increase of full-time equivalents (FTE) for seven versus six-period schedules and Salamanca on added cost per FTE. Overall, it was estimated that it would cost approximately $375,000 to move from a six-period to seven-period model. And, perhaps $750,000 to have a 4x4 schedule.

Schmeichel indicated that he will make another presentation with his recommendation in January, following opportunities for parents and others to weigh in.

The next CUSD board meeting will be held in the district office boardroom on Thursday, Dec. 12 at 4 p.m.

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