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Thank You for Feedback Re: High School Schedule

A Message from Superintendent Greg Baker

Dear High School Families,

Thank you for taking the time to thoughtfully respond to our recent survey regarding the eight period (4×8) high school schedule. We received more than 1,200 responses and there was some spirited discussion on the blog, as well.

We have compiled a brief summary of results. Your feedback helps influence how we refine and improve the high school schedule.

The survey results highlight both the benefits of the new schedule as well as the challenges. When asked what was working well, people said they appreciated that students are getting more sleep and seem more alert in the morning. They also enjoyed the increased course offerings and teachers specifically appreciate the daily planning time. Regarding homework, respondents said they like having an extra day between classes and that homework isn’t due the next day.

Challenges include increased stress and overwhelmed students with too many course choices. Some say it is difficult for students to retain learning when classes are every other day.

Respondents were divided on advisory periods on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Some say advisory time twice a week in Anchor/Raideraide/THOR/Rally Groups is invaluable for students, while others say the time isn’t used effectively.

As with any system change, there will be growing pains, especially in the first year of implementation.

We are seeing an increase in the number of students taking academic workshop classes, and this trend is continuing for next year. We are also seeing a heightened awareness around making healthy choices and striving for a balanced course load, which means students are carefully choosing the number of rigorous courses in their schedule. We encourage all students to work closely with counselors and their families when choosing classes.

Moving forward, we will continue to work with and support our high school teachers so they have the tools needed for the 4×8 schedule. We will also continue to work together with our schools in determining how much Anchor/Raideraide/Thor/Rally time to have in our schedule.

And then there’s the issue of homework. It may surprise you, as it surprised me, but when we asked students to quantify the time they spend on homework it is almost unchanged from when we asked this same question in fall 2016 (during the six-period schedule). See the chart below.

 

Graph shows how homework time has not increased from fall 2016 to spring 2018.

 

Is the logical conclusion that any homework is too much homework when you ask a student? 🙂 But seriously, we know this issue needs more attention, and we’ll keep working on it.

If you’ve made it this far in the message, I’d encourage you to watch this video produced last year by the Association of Washington School Principals about planning for the eight period schedule and many of the reasons we made this change (graduation requirements changing, pacing, elimination of zero period, and the list goes on).

Again, thank you for taking the time to share your feedback whether you did so through the blog or survey. I always appreciate hearing from staff, families and students and this feedback, along with the many other ways we collect data and hear a variety of viewpoints, will help us as we continue to find ways to support our students.

Greg Baker