Monday, January 28, 2019

Big Changes Coming to the Massabesic Schedule

Written by Delia Harms

There are some proposed changes coming to Massabesic High School that will alter daily life drastically. The main change is a seven block schedule (6 classes and one Mustang Time period) for the upcoming school year. Classes will meet every day for 48 minutes eliminating Green and White days. Advisory will also be replaced with what is called Mustang Time. The goal of this schedule is to create more time per class per semester and ideally increase achievement levels throughout the school. According to Principal Hand, “this schedule will allow us to address the Math and English gaps many of our students have while meeting the needs of all learners.” He goes on to add, “ It will increase instructional time in a course per semester while moving away from long instructional blocks that have created a lot of downtime in a student's schedule.”

With the reworked schedule graduation requirements have also needed adjusting. The overall number of credits required to graduate will eventually be brought down to 20 credits, lowering gradually over the next couple of years. The largest changes in this credit count will be a drop to 3.0 credits of math, history, and science whereas 3.5 is currently required. More details about the graduation requirements will be released soon.

Some downfalls to this schedule have also been recognized. One major problem being that the number of classes available in a semester is going to be reduced from eight to six. This will make it more difficult for students to fit in all of the classes they need to take and find time for the electives they enjoy and/or need to take to be ready for their career and education after high school. For instance, a Freshman coming in will now have six available blocks to work with. If they wish to take all four core classes, a foreign language, and Wellness (which is required), that leaves no time for electives. The shorter blocks will also make it difficult for some classes to function the way they currently do. For example, an art class uses time at the beginning and end for set up and clean up and would then be lacking in time to actually work on their projects.

A lot of thought has been put into how students can work around these complications and find the opportunities they are looking for. The “Mustang Time” is the additional block in the middle of the day (replacing advisory) that will help address some of these concerns. It may be used to help provide time to AP classes to complete labs or assessments. It can also be used for students to do independent studies and find other ways of getting involved in their areas of interest. However, because of this, other activities and clubs that currently take place during advisory will need to be moved to outside of the school day.

The schedule will be brought to the school board to be voted on on February 23rd and more information will be released soon.

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