At the Sept. 11 Radford City School Board meeting, Executive Director for Curriculum and Instruction Ellen Denny updated the board on the process for selecting a new schedule for Radford High School and Dalton Intermediate.
She revisited the instructional, logistical and student-oriented reasons to update the schedule (see the detailed report in the Radford News Journal Sept. 1 article “Radford City schools crafting new schedules for RHS, Dalton Intermediate” www.radfordnewsjournal.com/top-stories/radford-city-schools-crafting-new-schedules-for-rhs-dalton-intermediate/ ) and explained the process the committee had used to create new prototypes.
The committee working on the schedules had gotten down to two, but then, after receiving input and having additional discussion, considered other factors such as separating the high school and Dalton lunch periods so that they would not have lunch together.
Now there are five schedules again under consideration. They include:
- The Jefferson Model: 135 seat hours per year; eight periods with 43-45 minute periods on Monday and 92 minute periods that meet two other days, Tuesday through Thursday; the teacher meets with students 3x/week; Dalton and RHS eat lunch together.
- The Backwards Jefferson Model: 144 seat hours per year; 7 periods with 50-minute periods M-W and an additional 90-92 minute periods that would meet on Thursday or Friday; the teacher meets with students 4x/week; Dalton and RHS eat lunch together.
- The Hybrid 7 Model: This is the same as the Backwards Jefferson except that Dalton and RHS have separate lunch periods.
- The Hybrid 8 Model: This is the same as the Backwards Jefferson except it has eight periods; the M-W periods are 45 minutes long; 136.2 seat hours; the extended period is 90-94 minutes; Dalton and RHS have separate lunch periods.
- The Traditional 7 Periods: 150 seat hours; seven periods M-F for 50 minutes; the teacher meets with students 5x/week; Dalton and RHS have separate lunch periods.
Denny emphasized that with the Traditional 7, the schools could add longer blocks in periodically when it made the most sense instructionally.
That way, students could have the highest number of seat hours but still be able to have a more extended block at times for a lab, career and technical education activity, internship experience, etc.
In all five models, the one-hour long “OneLunch” concept is included so students can attend club activities, work on homework, meet with teachers for extra help, participate in intramurals, meet with counselors or administrators, practice an instrument, learn lines for a drama performance, etc.
Teachers at the secondary level would also have a chance to develop Professional Learning Communities and work together as departments or interdepartmentally on analyzing data and sharing best practices, integrating curricula (for example, English and history teachers team-teaching or working on projects together in a Humanities team) and a host of other professional development activities.
The committee is getting extensive input on the choice of the schedule from all stakeholders. Teachers had small group faculty information sessions in August.
Denny conducted Community Information Sessions on Wednesday of last week and another one on Tuesday of this week (rescheduled from Monday because of the storm).
Student Information Sessions will take place Sept. 18-21 during English, civics and science classes. There will be Innovative Planning Grant Team Sessions on Sept. 24 and Oct. 1 and 8.
The leadership team will meet to discuss the plan on Oct. 5, and the division has tentatively set the school board presentation of the final schedule for Oct. 9.
Some of the questions asked at the Wednesday, Sept. 12 community information session included:
1. How will the Pledge of Allegiance, a moment of silence and announcements be done without the 15-minute activity period? A few minutes could be added to the first period. Announcements will be scrolling on large screen televisions in several spots 24/7.
2. How will extra help for students and clubs work? Teachers and administrators will carefully construct a schedule during the one-hour lunchtime to accommodate students who want to attend clubs/activities and still get extra help on other days.
3. What if students are in multiple clubs? Having clubs/activities meet during the school day means that everyone can attend. Currently, some students can’t stay after school because they lack a ride home. Clubs and activities can be scheduled over different days during the month so students can participate in multiple activities.
4. How will lunch times work? The five different schedules have different lunch times. All are within typical time frames for school lunch.
5. Will RHS and Dalton have separate lunch times? Three of the schedules provide for separate lunch periods for the two schools; two do not and have the two schools eating at the same time.
6. Why not semester blocks? Not sure the research backs semester blocks and some teachers report difficulties with continuity in areas like foreign language and math.
7. How will drop-off work with all students arriving at the same time? That will have to be worked out and coordinated, but it can be organized and done efficiently.
8. How will the final schedule decision be made? Based on input from the meetings with students, teachers, administrators, parents and the Innovative Planning Grant Team, a recommendation will be made to the school board, tentatively by October 9.
Denny mentioned that several of the proposed schedules would be given a practice run to ascertain their feasibility.
She emphasized that one of these schedules will be in place for next year, but it will be personalized to meet the needs of Radford students, staff and the school community.