Stand up for what you believe is right on scheduling

Published 8:07 am Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Opposition to changing the scheduling at Central High School has emerged.

In March, the school board changed the structure of the Central High School day beginning with the next academic year from its current block scheduling (consisting of four class periods each day for half of a year with four new classes for the last half of the year) to a seven-period school day.

Board member Amy N. McClure called it “beneficial to all … students,” and fellow board member Doug Aubel added that courses such as chemistry will benefit from a longer class period.

Superintendent Charles M. Berkley Jr. has told the board that block scheduling in the fall is no problem because students seldom miss time because of weather, but in the winter, bad weather ends up costing days and disrupting classes. He noted that a number of other schools in the area have gone back to the seven-period day. But two opponents attended the May school board meeting, and they came with a cheering section.

The opposition complained that what the board hadn’t done was consider every consequence of the change, and listen to every voice about its effect.

The opposition said the change was undertaken without parents being notified, and creates hardships for those whose children are enrolled in honors classes or wanting to start working on a college degree.

All that may have come as a surprise to the school system, which spent months discussing the topic and even set up a committee to examine the change and make a recommendation.

In asking for the committee’s creation in February, Berkley said he wanted it to represent a “vast coverage of the county” with a makeup that included administrators from Central and the middle school, parents, teachers, several school board members, guidance counselor and students.

Maybe one indication that there would be disagreement. The board, whose decisions are so often unanimous, this time had a dissent.

Elizabeth R. Williams said she did not believe the committee adequately represented the interest of parents, noting she spoke to parents in her district and many of them did not want the change.

Williams also worried the change could disrupt the system’s improvements on Standard of Learning tests as well as sports activities and homework.

So were the parents ignored? Is the change good or bad?

We have no position on what the school board should do; we do, however, want all voices heard and a decision that is best for the students.