Today’s meeting with school and Board of Education representatives

Note: This is the same message that has been posted on the Facebook page, repeated for your convenience.

Today a group of us met with both Assistant Superintendents, Mr. Last, Mr. Jira, Ms. Fitzkee, and Ms. Powers. The meeting was cordial enough, but they made it perfectly clear at the beginning and end that they do not consider continuing a semester block schedule as an option, and do not see any path that would let them keep that in place.

It’s not completely negative, though. In just the past few days, the Board of Education has given the school permission to be “as creative as they need to be to guarantee the students’ success.” What that means is that, in many cases, they will be scheduling classes that would have taken sequential semesters as concurrent courses on an A/B basis, and simply teaching one for the first half of the year, and the other for the second half.

For the relatively large number of parallel enrollments and spring interns, they are taking pains to schedule the necessary classes in the morning, to facilitate those activities and minimize the impact of eliminating the semester model.

The biggest benefit they see is elimination of instructional gaps, such as a student taking English in fall semester one year, and not again until spring the following year. According to Mr. Jira, who is the school scheduling guru, between 40% and 45% of the students are in that situation, which causes known problems.

The team also spent a fair amount of time talking about students with special needs, but I will let someone closer to those issues address what their impressions were

The good news, according to the guidance and scheduling team, is that few students will notice a difference, and they are committed to working with individual students where needed to solve schedule problems.

The bad news, according to us, is that the commitment is from the existing school team, and whether we like it or not, that is subject to change.

There’s little doubt that the school has significantly more flexibility than it did several days ago. It was inferred that the additional flexibility could have been due, at least in part, to the pressure that has been brought to bear by the community.

Pat yourselves on the back a little. Not too much; we’re not finished yet.