School board keeps schedule debate on the table
June 10, 2008 · Updated 7:36 PM
POULSBO Amidst last weeks high school walk-out and a flurry of opinions voiced during their public comment session, members of the North Kitsap School Board made certain to tell those at their standing-room only meeting Thursday that the new NKHS schedule is not yet set in stone.
We dont have anything approved or disapproved, said board president Catherine Ahl. It will be discussed further.
But board members Bethany McDonald and Ed Strickland were both quick to add that it was the boards mandate to change the schedule and that an increase in instructional time will be made.
You were supposed to have this (schedule) a year ago, Strickland said.
At issue is the proposed North Kitsap High School seven-period schedule, designed to increase class time from the current 127.5 credit hours per class at the school to the state mandated 150.
The school board has been sending a waiver to the state board of education each year to allow for the fewer class hours. But the directors decreed a year ago that theyd no longer allow the waiver and created an approximately 30-member task force to design a new schedule.
The task force, made up of teachers, parents, students and administrators, produced a new schedule that allows for both long block classes and shorter skinny classes designed to best meet the needs of different kinds of classes at the school.
NKHS Principal Roy Herrera also presented the seven period schedule to the sophomore and junior students during two assemblies Wednesday, to help explain why the change is being made, especially to students who participated in the Jan. 21 walk-out. He told the students that a mandate from the school board is a mandate NKHS must follow.
We cannot wait two years to do what we were told to do, Herrera said, referring to the cascade of information about the schedules as a snowball that got out of control.
I apologize for that snowball getting too fast, Herrera said. But he added later: We feel confident enough that this schedule is going to work.
Many students and teachers opted to ask the school board Thursday if the directors-required change was necessary.
The major problem is the students do not know what classes will be set into which (block or skinny) time, said NKHS student Jacob Cole. I think the schedule change should be put off for later years.
NKHS student Erin Murphy advocated a little trimming here and a little trimming there to increase from the current 127.5 credit hours per class to 150.
Both year-long skinny shorter classes and semester-long block longer classes are configured into the new seven-period schedule. But blocks would have to be twice as long as the short periods likewise the shorts would have to be half the length of the blocks so that when either sized class finishes during the day, both a long and short classes could begin at the next available class time.
As such, the problem, commented NKHS teacher Bill Hobaugh, is to have block classes meet for 101 minutes while the skinny classes would then have to meet for 48 minutes too short in his estimation.
If you want to get to know the kids, you have to have more than 48 minutes, said Hobaugh who has taught at North for 25 years.
He echoed a point earlier made by NKHS student Ella Sanman that if the board is advocating that competency be valued over seat-time, wasnt it a moot point to increase from 127.5 to 150?
It should be more the students and teachers choice, commented NKHS student Alexis Cundiff. Because were the ones that have to go through this every day.
Parent volunteer on the task force Linda Berry-Maraist told board members that its time to stop studying and implement the new schedule. She said she feels the current NKHS 4 by 4 block isnt giving students enough instructional time.
Its a mini-credit, she said of the 127.5 credit hours currently of each class at NKHS. Were asking kids to master 100 percent of the material in 84 percent of the time.
This is a bold schedule, she added, But were trying to offer a balance here.
After the meeting, Berry-Maraist said the task force is listening to the students concerns.
These students have legitimate questions, she added. I think theres a lot of work to be done.
At the end of Thursdays public comment period prior cutting the cake during the boards annual appreciation night director Ed Strickland posed the question: Has anyone looked into trimesters?
Much work to be done indeed.
* The directors also contemplated graduation requirements at the Thursday meeting, an article on that subject will appear in the Feb. 2 Herald.