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Full block schedule being considered for next year

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Principal Paul Robinson has proposed a new schedule that, if approved, would move the school from its current modified block to a full block schedule similar to the one at Los Gatos High School. This proposal is being debated by teachers and administrators.

Robinson’s proposal consists of several major changes from the current schedule. These modifications — including more tutorials each week, and a later starting time and no days in which homework is due in all classes — are all intended to help students, and he said it is “the most student-friendly schedule out there.” 

Assistant principal Brian Safine said that a big difference is the addition of another period, an eighth period. Although there is space for an additional class, students would be allowed to take a maximum of seven classes. 

“The idea would be that whenever possible, we would have the seventh and eighth periods unscheduled for athletes,” Safine said. “So right now, a student athlete might have to be dismissed from class early to go travel. But if Friday ends in an eighth period and the student is unscheduled there, then class would end for them at 1:50 and there would be less of a likelihood that the student would have to miss class.”

Safine said that another benefit for students is the addition of having tutorial every day except for Monday.  

“Tutorials should be utilized by students to make up any missed work or to get caught up or ahead academically,” Safine said. “So students who utilize tutorial the right way will tremendously benefit from the new schedule.”

In addition to administrators and teachers, the school site council, which includes students, teachers and parents, has offered input in the proposal. Junior Jennie Werner, a member of the council, said she is in favor of the schedule.

“Underclassmen don’t need tutorials four days a week, but now as a junior, I would definitely utilize the tutorials four days a week,” Werner said. “For some students it could be excessive, but for juniors it becomes really necessary.”

Werner also likes the proposed changes to Mondays. 

“I feel like the classes [on Monday] are too short to do anything productive,” Werner said. “Having a full block would allow every period to be used to its maximum potential.”

Another difference is that students would lose minutes of in-class learning time. Safine calculated this difference at roughly four hours of instruction per semester — a change that has concerned some teachers. 

Robinson said the process for deciding on a new schedule will go in stages, and he will seek input from students, parents and teachers. Teachers will vote on the proposal next week.

Regardless of the decision, Robinson believes that the quality of students’ work and experience will not change.

“No matter what schedule we are on, we still have great students, great teachers and great parent support,” Robinson said. “We are always going to be successful.”

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