Administration considers blended schedule next year
(February 15, 2017)
Article by Lexi Cobb, high school journalist
The Silver Lake administration is contemplating a change for next school year that would impact both junior high and senior high students and faculty. Silver Lake High School Principal Brad Womack explained what types of schedule changes are being discussed.
“The two main schedules that I am looking at would be one that is a traditional seven period day, and one that’s called ‘blended.’ What that would look like is one where you would see every teacher three days a week, and then the other two days would look like what you see now, as a block schedule,” Womack said.
Womack said that if he had to pick one right now, he would choose the blended schedule. He explained some of the benefits of the new schedules.
“Our students see the teachers three days or two days a week. The schedule that I proposed will make it to where the students will be able to see their teachers four to five times per week. So taking our most valuable resources that impact student achievement, and putting them into contact with our students as often as possible is a big factor for me,” Womack said.
He said the national average for high school students to be in school is 6.6 hours. Silver Lake students are in school for 400 minutes per day, or 6.6 hours.
According to Womack, “We don’t need to add time to the day, but what we really need to do is reallocate the time we have here.”
With any new schedule, there are going to be problems that will have to be worked out. Womack explained some potential issues that may have to be resolved in the future.
“Homework is a huge one. We will need to make sure that we don’t have teachers that are assigning an overload of homework,” Womack said.
Homework loads aren’t the only issues that will arise. With seven classes a day, there will be no more seminar. Womack said that the administration will still need to build in some sort of extra time for the students to get their homework done.
“It is essential that we build in ‘unstructured time’ because you’re still going to need time to meet with college reps, have class meetings, and go get help from a teacher,” he said.
Womack will not be making this decision alone. He said that he will need help from students and faculty in deciding which schedule he will choose.
“We will have opportunities, whether that’s with me, or groups of teachers, for groups of students to come in and express concerns, ideas, and have their voice heard. So, in terms of who all will have input, site councils, board members, teachers, and students,” Womack explained.
Though he will have input from different sources to consider, Womack will get to make the final decision.
“The board charges me to make a recommendation to them on a yearly basis about what classes we’re going to offer and those kinds of things, so ultimately I have to make a decision about what we are going to do, I share it with them, and I get their blessing,” Womack said.
He said that he wants to have this decision finalized before spring break, in order to limit changes made to pre-enrollment.
According to Womack, “The students won’t see anything different in terms of pre-enrollment, besides maybe I think last year we may have done the pre-enrollment before spring break, and this year we may have to wait until after spring break to do it.”
If he doesn’t have a decision made by spring break, Womack explained what the students would do when pre-enrolling.
“Basically, Mrs. Liggatt and I have spoken, you guys are not going to see anything different, other than choosing seven vs. eight (classes). If it’s still up in the air at that point, what we will most likely do is similar to what you did in junior high, where you choose your classes and then you choose your alternatives,” Womack explained.
Check out the March edition of the Eagle Times for an update on the schedule decision, as well as student and faculty reactions.