Thursday, January 8, 2015

How about year-round high schools in Wake County?

For more than 20 years, an idea of year-round high schools has been a personal project that’s gone nowhere. Members of the Wake County Board of Education, administrators of the Wake County Schools System, teachers and principals of Wake County Schools, and parents of students in Wake County have been approached. No dice.

Those groups, in general, have run in the opposite direction, staying in favor of traditional high schools while year-round elementary and middle schools are well received, for the most part. Objections range from: class and subject scheduling; to participation in extracurricular activities; to classes that last nearly two hours; to time in school running from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. or later; to teachers objecting to two-hour classes. Issues can be solved but no one wants to discuss it.

Year-round high schools would reduce enrollment in high schools by one-third, decreasing the need to buy more land, build more buildings and add more trailers. Divide the academic year into trimesters: September to mid-December, January to mid-April, and May to mid-August. Students would attend two of the three trimesters, and taking three two-hour core courses, and one one-hour extracurricular course, and have an hour for lunch each day, each trimester. At seven hours a day, the requirement of 1025 hours a year would take 147 days a year or about 15 weeks per trimester. A school enrollment of 2100 would be reduced to 1400 for a trimester.

Participation in athletics, always a primary concern, can be solved. Teachers would have to adjust methods, teach for 120 minutes instead of 60 per class, and keep the students interested. There would less disruption in the schools with fewer class changes each day. Instead of an entire high school population looking for a summer job, only one-third of the students would look for a job for a four-month period; jobs could be shared by three students year-round.

It could work, but no one seems to be interested. Running for the Wake County Board of Education fell short a couple of years ago. The election, after an interview by the entire board, was by a vote of the board members. The winner was well-qualified, or maybe the voting members did not want hear about year-round high schools on a regular basis. The topic deserves serious consideration.
-------------------- word of the day
fritter (verb) [frit-er]: to squander or disperse piecemeal

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave your comment here: