SMSD Will Begin Experimental New Schedule

Sylvia Bryan and Logan Peterson

Starting the week of February 6, high school students across the district will have a new schedule to follow on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Due to regulations set by the Kansas Department of Education, SMSD is required to provide time for teachers to regularly meet in Professional Learning Communities, or PLCs. Until the 2014-15 academic year, this was accomplished by having occasional late starts on Thursdays. That year, the district switched to giving students one Tuesday off a month while teachers attended the meetings. This system was phased out after only a year, and was replaced with intermittent early dismissals.

But on February 9, late starts will make their return. One difference? Now they will happen every week, rather than being the occasional occurrence they once were. Every Thursday, classes will begin at 8:50; however, school will still begin at 7:40 the other four days of the week. The schedule change has been in the works for months, and the district considered implementing it at the beginning of the school year. However, the shift was delayed due to teacher contract negotiations, which weren’t settled until October.

“The nuts and bolts of it weren’t worked out until December, and you can’t implement a change like that without giving the community at least four weeks to adjust,” principal Steve Loe said.

Wednesdays will begin as usual, but in between first and third periods students will have a 30 minute advisory period from 9:10 to 9:40. The advisory period will be with the same teacher students are assigned to for seminar, and students will not be permitted to travel to other classrooms during this time. Seminar will still be after second period on Thursdays, but will be reduced from 95 to 50 minutes.

In addition, on days following the all-class schedule, classes will be reduced from 52 to 50 minutes. Blocks will also drop from 95 to 85 minutes. This means each academic class will lose 16 minutes of instructional time per week, going from 251 to 235 minutes. This is about a six percent reduction.

“[There are] five different high schools with five different schedule,” Loe said.

Loe also discussed the possibility of flexibility within the schedule. There is even the possibility of adding up to four minutes to lunch

Elementary and middle school schedules will be unchanged, which means the bus schedule will not be changed, either. Because of this, SM West’s nearly 700 bus riders will have to spend at least an hour each morning either in the cafeteria eating breakfast, an assigned quiet study room, or an area designed for project and assignment collaboration. Because teachers will be occupied with PLC events, students will not be able to use the time to meet with them. Instead, they will be supervised by administrators and other faculty members.

“They can go to the cafeteria and eat breakfast, a designated testing center, or a quiet study room,” Loe said.

Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays will undergo a few slight changes. Along with the two minute per day reduction in class time, the passing period between second and third hour will be ten minutes.

The new schedule in full is provided below.

Monday, Tuesday, Friday

Hour 1: 7:40-8:30

Hour 2: 8:35-9:25

Hour 3: 9:35-10:25

Hour 4: 10:30-11:20

Hour 5: 11:25-12:50

1st lunch:

2nd lunch:

3rd lunch:

Hour 6: 12:55-1:45

Hour 7: 1:50-2:40

Wednesday

Hour 1: 7:40-9:05

Advisory: 9:10-9:40

Hour 3: 9:45-11:10

Hour 5: 11:15-1:10

1st lunch:

2nd lunch:

3rd lunch:

Hour 7: 1:15-2:40

 

Thursday

Hour 2: 8:50-10:15

Seminar: 10:20-11:10

Hour 4: 11:15-1:10

Hour 6: 1:15-2:40