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Proposed High School Schedule Rejected By School Board

Changes to SGS schedule were approved

6-26-14 a1A proposed schedule for Franklin High School which would have reduced class periods and increased lunch times was rejected June 26 by the Board of Education.

That means that the master schedule in effect for the 2013-2014 school year will be used in the 2014-2015 school year, and possibly longer.

Board members Delvin Burton, Christine Danielsen, Nancy LaCorte Edward Potosnak and Keisha Smith-Carrington voted against the proposal, while members Betty Whalen, Richard Arline and vice president Eva Nagy voted for it.

Board president Julia Presley did not attend the meeting.

The proposed schedule, created by interim high school principal Orvyl Wilson, was designed to reduce the lunch backlog about which students had been complaint all year. Students said long lines prevented many from getting lunch before the period ended, and overcrowding in the cafeteria forced many students to eat in the sea between the gym and the theater.

Wilson’s schedule increased the number of lunch periods from three to four while reducing their duration from 30 minutes to 25 minutes. The schedule would also decrease class periods from 59 minutes to 45 minutes.

In describing the schedule to the board at its June 19 meeting, Wilson said creating one more lunch period would reduce by 200 the number of students needing to be served at any one period.

Some board members at the June 19 meeting asked that more students and staff be polled about the proposed schedule. Interim schools Superintendent Leroy Seitz said the district did just that although response was minimal.

Seitz said that out of 73 students who responded, 54 said they did not like the proposed changes. Of 27 parents, 17 said they did not like it, he said.

The reaction was markedly different among teachers, he said. Of the 40 teachers who responded, 37 said they approved of the changes.

The proposed schedule also presented a dilemma for students who wished to take two Advanced Placement science classes in a semester. The schedule would call for seven periods of AP science a week, which, along with a mandatory study period, meant that those students could only take seven classes a semester, rather than the usual eight.

“There is a significant increase in the amount of time students would spend in AP science,” Seitz said.

Seitz called the proposed schedule a “short-term” solution to the problem. But, he said, “there’s no such thing as the perfect solution.”

During the public portion of the meting, high school student Albert Krause, who plans on taking AP science class next year, said he felt the proposed schedule was unfair to students like himself.

“It feels like we are being punished,” he said.

High school teacher Karen Trautmann said she wasn’t sure if the proposed schedule “would work, but this (current) one definitely didn’t work.”

Potosnak, a former chemistry teacher, did not change his mind about the proposed schedule since he raised questions about it at the June 19 meeting.

“This is not the right schedule for 21st Century learners,” he said.

“I agree that the current schedule doesn’t work, but I also agree that this isn’t the right schedule,” Danielsen said of the proposal. “I don’t think we sold do something that’s short-term.”

Smith-Carrington noted that the board began hearing complaints about the schedule last fall, “and nothing was done.”

Seitz said the district may have to “live with this schedule for the next two years” because any schedule with major changes would have to undergo at least a year for “professional development.”

“What we were recommending was not a radical change,” he said. “It was something that the teachers had confidence that they could use to deliver our curriculum inane effective manner to our students.”

A proposal to change the Sampson G. Smith School schedule next year to allow 80-minute classes for science and social studies was approved by the board without comment.

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