Students in Middletown high schools will have more time but less classes per day with the new block-scheduling format.
Middletown High School North Principal Patricia Vari-Cartier and Middletown High School South Principal Patrick Rinella presented a Power Point detailing block scheduling to more than 60 parents and students gathered in the Middletown High School North Library.
“We truly believe that we have developed a schedule that is in your child’s best educational, social and emotional well-being,” said Superintendent of Schools William George. “It addresses all of that and we are firmly planning in the 21st century with a steady hold that can improve teaching and learning and that is the directional we are looking to head in.”
The block scheduling would increase class time from 48 minutes to 80 minutes and reduce the amount of class students would take in a day to four classes a day and a one 26 minute lunch period and a 26-minute advisory period on an alternating A day and B day schedule.
The school day will be divided into five blocks. Each block last about 80 minutes with the exception of Block 3 which would last about 52 minutes. During this third block, students would have a 26-minute lunch and a 26-minute advisory period.
The first block would begin at 7:36 a.m. and the last block would end at 2:13 p.m., ending the school day.
“The block scheduling affords our students so much more opportunity,” Principal of Middletown High School South Patrick Rinella.
Benefits of the block scheduling include lower class sizes in core classes averaging in the teens and students can take an additional class, Rinella said. Students will also have an opportunity to attend advisory tutorial sessions, which would be included in the students’ daily schedule.
Rinella said during this advisory period students would be able to attend extra help periods as well as participate in club activities. Teachers will post their office hours on the school's web page, Rinella said.
Juniors and seniors will have lunch first at 10:26 a.m. then would transition into a room where they will have the ability to take advantage of extra help and club activities.
While freshmen and sophomores will have the second lunch and have an advisory session the first weeks of school then they will also have the ability to take advantage of extra help and club activities.
During this period, the gym will not be available for students to work out. Rather lunch will be served in the auxiliary gym as well as the cafeteria.
One parent raised a concern about students eating in the same space where wrestlers practice and physical education classes take place and the sanitation procedures that will take place in order to provide a safe, clean atmosphere for students to eat.
Superintendent of Schools William George said custodial supervisors will set up and clean the area in addition to students taking “responsibility for their area”.
Attendance policies have also changed. With the previous policy, students who had more than 16 unexcused absences in a full-year course did not receive credit.
Students missing more than 10 unexcused absences in a full-year course will not receive credit for the course. This does not mean students who are absent for 10 days will not receive credit.
For a student to receive for a full-year A-day course, a student will have to have less than 10 unexcused absences.
At eight absences, parents would receive a notice home notifying them that their student has missed these days. A student would be able to appear in front of the Attendance Review Committee and review their absences. Only absences due to religious observances will be excused.
The graduation requirements have also changed because students will able to take additional credits with block scheduling
The class of 2013 will need to complete 125 credits to graduate; class of 2014 will need 130 credits to graduate; class of 2015 will need 135 credits to graduate; and the class of 2016 and beyond will need 140 credits to graduate.
The block schedules will be posted on August 24 on the Parent Portal in PowerSchool. Parents who have opted out of the Parent Portal will receive a paper copy of the schedule in the mail.