EHS staying on schedule Debated 7th period will remain; enhancements made to eliminate conflicts, add flexibility

By on October 17, 2012

By: GARY P. KLINGER Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

Seventh period remains.

That was just some of the highly-anticipated news shared by Assistant District Superintendent Dr. Brian Troop at Monday’s meeting of the Ephrata School board.

Back in January, the administration was considering a new six-period day which was promptly met with concerns of parents who did not like all aspects of the proposed change. The district heard the concerns and went back to the drawing board, revisiting those things which were good about the seven- period schedule. The result is what they believe is an enhanced seven-period day that puts to use maximum efficiency of district resources while at the same time continuing to offer students maximum flexibility.

"This new schedule eliminates any conflict with extra-curricular activities," commented Dr. Troop. He added that this schedule also offers students the flexibility needed to take advanced placement (AP) courses, music, sports and works well for students planning to go to the Career and Technology Center (CTC)

The administration began with four key objectives in considering the high school schedule. First, it wanted to increase the efficient use of district resources. Second, it sought to increase instructional time. It also wanted the new schedule to include a Student Advisory Period, while also attempting to decrease the number of transitions students made each day.

In looking at the 2011-2012 schedule, the district recognized that the majority of the high school teachers schedule contained five teaching periods. The student day ran from 7:30 to 2:25, with seven periods each lasting 47 minutes. There were no advisory periods and students would have up to seven instructors per day.

While the possibility of a six-period day did offer some strengths and advantages, several weaknesses and disadvantages surfaced. It would reduce options for certain groups of students, it produced various parental concerns about the change and complicated the graduation credits for CTC students. It also restricted the flexibility of students to participate in the music program.

In the meantime, while the district was considering schedule options, a number of developments occurred which helped to guide district leaders in the process. Final 2012-13 budget numbers were released and staffing costs were identified. The district also received notifications of various retirements and resignations. Cumulatively, that meant a staff reduction at the high school of ten members, with five from retirements and resignations and five from transfer to lower levels.

"To run the six-period schedule, we would not have been able to transfer three to four staff members and thus, the reduction of staff form the high school would have only been less significant," said Troop.

District Superintendent Dr. Gerald Rosati weighed in on the matter.

"In looking at our resignations and retirements we wanted to look at what we could do to use that to help balance district staffing," said Rosati. "Over a three-month period we had to look at the big picture; if we didn’t do what we could, we would have made things more difficult financially in the next several years." More EHS, page A12

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