Rumors have been circulating the school for weeks since the idea first presented itself. Over the past four years the school has seen three different schedules, leaving students, like junior Maddie Connelly, to wonder if another change is eminent.
“I heard that we would have block schedule for a month next year to see if West could get accustomed to block and see if they liked it or not,” Connelly said. “And if they liked it they would switch to block the following the year.”
While these rumors have been vastly exaggerated, the new schedule is actually surprisingly simple.
This modified schedule for the 2012-2013 school year features the same schedule students saw this year, three seven days and two block days, but allows for month-by-month, even week-by-week changes.
This three-by-two schedule will remain next year except during the month of October. That is a month when there is rarely more than a four-day week due to parent teacher conferences, testing days and the end of the quarter. For the entire month of October 2012, every day will be a block day.
“We are tying to find ways to protect seminar during [state] testing,” Principal Karl Krawitz said. “We want to create a schedule that protects some [testing] situations as best as we possibly can.”
The administration is building in more flexibly for other months as well. For example, if the situation arises that there will be only four days in a particular week, the administration can decide to make that week all block days.
The school first decided to go into block scheduling after the 2007-2008 school year.
“There was a district philosophy a number of years ago where every high school could make decisions that they felt were appropriate” Assistant Principal Jeremy Higgins said. “And so if the staff voted that they wanted to explore block scheduling, that was left up to that individual school and that individual staff. So a couple of years ago we decided [block] was the route that we wanted to go and we had the ability to do that.”
But the district changed their philosophy, and now requires every high school to follow the same day-to-day schedule.
The administration realized in order to make classes at the Broadmoor Technical Center coincide for all SMSD, the administration decided a change was necessary. Further benefits include accommodating those teachers that have to travel between schools.
When Dr. Krawitz and the five other principals around SMSD met to decide what format of scheduling they would all be in, they decided to go with three-by-two.
“I think for the most part the district was wanting us to move to a three-by-two schedule even though a lot of us wanted to stay with the four-by-one,” Krawitz said.
This transition was intended to provide a more accommodating schedule for students and teachers. The decision to change from a four-by-one to a three-by-two schedule ended with a compromise, a change in schedule.
This new schedule, the compromise, blended a seven period schedule and a block schedule to try appease both sides of the scheduling debate.
But to Higgins, this modified schedule means less of the classroom time that he considers to be the most effective for teachers and students during block days.
“As a teacher I liked block because you had two seminars a week that you could get a lot done he said,” Higgins said. “From the administrative side, walking through the halls on a block day is a lot different from walking through the halls on a seven period day. It just feels more calm and less chaotic.”
While this new change is set in stone, students will yet again be seeing a different set of regulations, their fourth in five years.