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Whitmer High School adjusts block scheduling

Hybrid model expected to add flexibility over block scheduling

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Whitmer High School students will adjust to a new schedule featuring a combination of 44-minute periods and longer block classes when school starts later this month.

Those attending the high school in the Washington Local district will shift this year from a block schedule format, in which students took four 88-minute classes each semester, to a hybrid schedule, in which students take up to seven periods a day but some of the periods will be only 44 minutes long and will continue throughout the year.

Principal Kristine Martin said Whitmer has been on a block schedule for about 17 years, and officials began researching a mixed model a couple of years ago.

The new schedule will offer flexibility while continuing to allow longer periods for time-consuming courses such as chemistry, which requires setting up equipment for labs, and physical education, which requires students to change clothing.

“I think our kids and our staff like some of the aspects of the block so we are still keeping some of those aspects,” Ms. Martin said.

Under the hybrid schedule — many core classes, such as math, English, and social studies — now will be offered year-long in 44-minute-a-day periods.

Under the block schedule, some students could go a semester or longer without taking a math class, for example. That created “gaps” in some subjects in which students take standardized tests, Ms. Martin said.

Whitmer also will start a skill-building homeroom period for freshmen and sophomores.

The changes won’t affect the length of the school day, which still will start at 7:30 a.m. and dismiss at 2:25 p.m. Whitmer’s first day is Aug. 23.

Some of Toledo Public Schools’ high schools operated on a block schedule up until roughly seven years ago, when budget cuts prompted the district to switch to a traditional schedule.

Previously, those schools scheduled four 90-minute periods one day and four different classes the next day for a total of eight classes.

Now, all but one TPS high school offer seven classes taught daily during 43-minute periods. Toledo Early College High School has a modified format to accommodate the University of Toledo’s academic calendar.

Block scheduling required more teachers because it included one additional class, said Jim Gault, TPS chief academic officer.

Other districts, such as Sylvania Schools, stick to a traditional schedule. Southview and Northview high schools offer nine periods daily with classes that last 41 to 42 minutes.

Perrysburg High School schedules seven periods a day that last 50 minutes except for occasional block scheduling during enrichment days.

Contact Vanessa McCray at vmccray@theblade.com419-724-6065 or on Twitter @vanmccray.

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