RED WING -- Red Wing High School students can expect a new schedule next fall. How that might work is under discussion.
At Monday’s School Board meeting, Principal George Nemanich presented a proposed schedule for the 2020-21 school year. The presentation was informational and preliminary; the board took no action.
The proposed schedule consists of eight periods (44 minutes each) on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays and longer four-block periods (80 minutes each) on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. An intervention/advisory period also would be held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
In an hourlong presentation, Nemanich covered why a new schedule is needed, the process used to create the proposal, an overview of the proposal, and the benefits and considerations of the proposed schedule.
Currently the school uses a four-period block schedule that follows an every other day A/B format. This has been the format for 10 years.
Under the new plan, Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays would have a student start time of 8 a.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays would start 15 minutes later to accommodate staff meetings and Professional Learning Community meetings. Each school day would end at 3:10 p.m.
The proposal was created by a group of 14 stakeholders, including a parent, teachers, counselors and other school officials. The group met every Wednesday from Sept. 27 to Nov. 6 to discuss the issue and look at various types of schedules, such as block periods, seven-period days, eight-period days and semesters vs. trimesters.
“We were really kind of asked by the superintendent and the School Board. They wanted us to explore schedule options,” Nemanich said. “They wanted to make sure we were promoting learning and academic growth for our students and providing a safe learning environment and also be compatible with our district initiatives. So that is kind of why we headed in this direction.”
The group reflected on the current schedule and set priorities to keep in mind while they created the proposed schedule. Priorities include:
Develop a schedule that allows us to forge relationships with our students with consistency and relevancy to prepare them for their futures,
Develop a schedule that allows our students the opportunity and choice to follow a pathway that prepares them for the future,
Develop a schedule that promotes a safe learning environment for all students,
Develop a schedule that allows for consistency within the student day/academic year and also provides flexibility to take courses that may need more time within the school day,
Develop a schedule that allows staff more time to collaborate with one another within a PLC framework,
Develop a schedule that is developmentally appropriate for our students in grades 8-12.
Need to change
Nemanich, who became RWHS principal this summer, explained some of the reasons why a new schedule was created. He pointed to attendance drop data and rising number of students failing classes each year.
“Most of our instruction is not adapted to the longer class period, so over the 10 years, it seems like we haven’t adapted to that 88-to-90-minute class period as well,” Nemanich said.
The longer block periods on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, would give the classes that needed longer periods of class time more time -- classes such as industrial tech, art, consumer education and science classes with labs.
“The current schedule is not flexible enough to handle inevitable interruptions that take place during the school year,” Nemanich said. He pointed to the school cancellation right before Thanksgiving break as an example. Students who had a Monday class did not meet again until the following Tuesday.
According to Nemanich, the schedule change would allow for more supervision within the building. He reasons if there is more supervision, then there can be more freedom for students within the building.
“Because of our four period day and due to contract restrictions, our high school teachers do not currently have supervision duty as rest of the teachers in the district have, and so we could utilize that supervisory duty if we had a schedule that was compatible contract-wise. That would be nice to have that. It would help promote a little safer environment for our school,” Nemanich said.
K-12 Transportation, the school’s transportation router, is completing a study to see how the schedule change would affect busing. The results will likely come back before winter break. The School Board will take the results into account when voting on the schedule in early January.
NOTE: There is a typo on this document for Friday’s start time.