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New Schedule Proposed for 08-09

Posted 03/19/2008 by Ben Gilliland

TJ is considering a modified block schedule for next year.
by Ben Gilliland

Clock_1.jpg     For the 2008-2009 school year at Thomas Jefferson High School there is a proposal on the table for a modified block bell schedule, which is currently being reviewed by TJ teachers and administrators.
     The purpose of the new scheduling is to support more dynamic learning. Assistant Principal Scott Lessard presented the idea for a new schedule to the rest of the staff last semester. “You have to ask yourself, does the [current] 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 building the schedule each year at TJ. At the meeting, teachers were asked to write things that they liked and did not like about the current schedule based on student achievement. Lessard, along with a committee of 12 teachers met and analyzed the results of the study. They identified weaknesses in the current schedule 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 would follow 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 would roughly be the same schedule that the school currently uses, seven periods plus lunch; but the other two days, Wednesday and Thursday, would be block scheduling. On block days, each period would be 90 minutes long, and on Wednesdays there would 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 some students who do not have a full schedule  will not have the required amount of minutes. So, to solve this problem, Lessard added an advisement period on early release days, which would be optional and would be 30 minutes long. It would allow for students to meet with teachers and get extra help, and the remainder of the early release time allows teachers to have staff meetings and extra planning time.
     If parents have any questions, concerns, or feedback they can send them to Principal Sandra Just at or Assistan Principal Scott Lessard at