(02/20/2007)
By Bob Weaver

The issue of block scheduling vs. seven period (55 minute) scheduling in Calhoun schools was discussed at length at last night's school board meeting.

Board members discussed the issue with a number of teachers present, after a motion to make a change was voted upon to allow discussion.

Board member Steve Whited said he was concerned that block scheduling was not meeting the needs of the latest requirements from the state.

Board president Lee Evans said "Many parents do not prefer block scheduling," contending a seven-period schedule would gain instructional time, and "We could offer new electives."

Evans indicated at this time he was in favor of abandoning block scheduling, believing it would enhance educational opportunities.

Teacher Tammy Yoak said changing to a seven-period schedule would hurt lower level students, saying "The drop-out rate will soar."

"A big issue, as time has gone by, we have fewer teachers to teach more things," said teacher Maggie Bennett.

Board member Mike Wilson said "I'm concerned we can't fit all the electives in the schedule," referring to new standards which go in effect in 2008-09. Those standards are related to graduation.

Superintendent Blankenship (L) and Board President
Evans (R) hear dialog over changing block scheduling

"The requirements are very demanding," commented Whited, who said he lacked a defined knowledge of block scheduling, but felt that education included more than just teaching to task.

Superintendent Ron Blankenship reminded the board the school is already using a modified block schedule.

Calhoun Middle-High School principal Karen Kirby said most teachers have mixed feelings about the issue, saying "It needs to be studied in depth," before making a change. Kirby presented board members a hand-out with pros and cons.

Board member Cynthia Dale said she would like to hear more from teachers regarding the issue. "We need feedback," she said, reminding teachers present at the meeting, "Board members are under pressure to address block scheduling."

No action was taken.

The discussion regarding block scheduling vs. seven-period scheduling will continue during a special board meeting at Calhoun Middle-High School on March 5th.

More news from board meeting to follow.


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