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New Block Scheduling for 2008-2009

Posted 05/18/2008 by Ben Gilliland

TJ will adopt modified block schedule.
by Ben Gilliland
photo (and Legos) by Manuel Perez

NewSchedule.jpg    For the 2008-2009 school year at Thomas Jefferson High School there will be a modified block bell schedule, which will replace the one that the school currently runs.

    The purpose of the new scheduling is to support more learning inside the building. Assistant Principal Scott Lessard presented the idea for a new schedule to the rest of the staff. “You have to ask yourself, does the bell schedule support learning, and is it the most efficient use of the time we have, and the answer was no,” said Lessard, who is in charge of putting the schedule together at the school. 

    At the meeting teachers were asked to write things down that they liked and did not like about the current schedule based on student achievement. Lessard, along with a committee of 12 teachers sat down and analyzed the results of the study. They all identified weaknesses in it that could be minimized by a new format. Together they came up with four different options, and then narrowed it down to two. Finally, the committee decided that a seven period day with a modified block would be the best option for the school.
     The new bell schedule that TJ will be following is called a modified block, which several other DPS schools are already employing, including East and George Washington High Schools. During the school week three days, Monday, Tuesday, and Friday will be the same schedule that the school has had in past years, seven periods plus lunch, but the other two days, Wednesday and Thursday, will be block scheduling. On block days each period would be 90 minutes long, lunch will be moved to period 5, and on Wednesdays there will be an early release day.

    It is mandated by the state of Colorado that all students have 252 minutes of instruction per day for the school to able to receive full funding. With the old schedule students were able to do this; however, with the new block schedule kids who do not have a class will not have the required amount of minutes. So, to solve this problem Lessard added an advisement period on early release days. The 30-minute long advisement period will be mandatory for some students, but optional for everyone else. The time will allow for students to meet with teachers, and allow teachers to have staff meetings and have planning time.
     “This new block scheduling will be happening next year no matter what. All of the details have been worked out and this is the final product,” said Lessard.