Whether they're ready or not, students, and their parents, will have to adjust to a new schedule next school year.
On Wednesday the Twinsburg Board of Education approved 3-1. Board Member Stephen Shebeck voted against the change.
Principal Louise Teringo said she has examined the transition to an alternating block day schedule, letting students choose seven course offerings, rather than eight. Currently students take four 90-minute classes everyday each semester.
Under the new system each class would last the entire year, rather than switching after the semester. It resembles a college schedule, offering four blocks on Tuesday/Thursday and three (plus a study lab) on Wednesday/Friday. Monday's schedule would be determined at the beginning of the year.
Shebeck said he's worried about the timing of this change and foresees the guidance department becoming overwhelmed with scheduling issues, especially trying to make the change “mid-stream.”
“From a timing perspective, I don’t know if you can pick a year,” President Ron Stuver said, reiterating that not everyone is going to be fully pleased with the situation.
Several parents, and even a student, spoke to the boad Wednesday, asking members to make this decision cautiously. Some are worried how this will affect students who like to "double-up" courses, taking two in a school year to get ahead.
“Is it perfect, or something we’re accustomed too? No. But it’s the best option available under our economic circumstances,” Board Member David Andrews said.
The other major factor in this change is how much it would save the district.
The formula is pretty simple: By students choosing less offerings, there will be less courses, and the school will need less staff to instruct particular electives.
The district is looking at cutting about 12 certificated teaching positions, which could save just under $2 million in two years.
“The harsh reality is that 85 percent of our expenditures are personnel,” Andrews said. The alternative, he said, would be to reduce positions without changing the scheduling, but allowing for larger class sizes with fewer teachers.
Both board members and Superintendent Kathryn Powers know parents and students are concerned with the change, and said they are willing to discuss any issues with them.
“There is a lot of misinformation about this new high school schedule,” Powers said, hoping parents with questions or concerns would contact her or Teringo to have them addressed.