Laney High will move to block schedule

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Lucy C. Laney High School will move to a block class schedule for the 2011-12 school year, which means students will have four 90-minute classes a day rather than the seven 55-minute classes as at other schools in the district.

Last year, Laney was the only school to implement an eight 50-minute classes schedule as one strategy within in its School Improvement Grant plan that was designed to improve student achievement.

Although students received more instruction time, the longer days created problems with transportation.

Their days began at 7:20 a.m., earlier than other schools in the district. Some Laney students who rode the same buses as students at schools with later start times ended up arriving at school as the first class was ending.

With the new block scheduling, students at Laney will be on the same daily schedule as A.R. Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet School students, who begin at 7:45 a.m. and end at 3:10 p.m.

The schools will be able to combine routes to arrive to school on time, Laney Principal Tonia Mason said.

The Richmond County Board of Education unanimously approved the new schedule Tuesday.

Laney's transition to block scheduling will be a way to fix transportation issues that came with the school's eight-period day last year and might also serve as a model for other schools who believe extended instructional time on a subject enhances learning.

"In a 90-minute block, you have to continually change the activities of students, just because of the attention spans of students," acting Superintendent James Whitson said. "There is some research that suggests that given student reflection time ... that tends to improve student performance."

Laney will become the first school in the district to convert to block scheduling, where students attend four classes on Monday and Wednesday, a different set of four on Tuesday and Thursday and then alternate those sets each Friday.

The classes are still year-long but require students to focus on each subject for more minutes each day.

"We're having to teach differently," Mason said. "Our methodology will change and our student learning will change."

School board member Helen Minchew said other schools have expressed interest in the block scheduling. Although most principals have already designed the schedules for their students in preparation of the first day of school Aug. 8, Minchew said it should be an option for them in the future.

"They feel it will help their academic achievement for their students," she said. "There's some other schools out there that ... would like to do some type of block scheduling to help with their math and reading."

With a 55-minute period, Mason said, teachers often run out of time to fully close the lesson.

In block scheduling, teachers will have time to offer more activities and labs to work on each day.

"We are excited," Mason said. "It could be a model for the rest of the schools."

Comments (12) Add comment
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Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 07/20/11 - 12:59 am
0
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Upon what specific

Upon what specific peer-reviewed research bases did the RCBOE found its decision to institute block scheduling? "Some reserach?" What research! "They feel...." Should our pedagogic actions be feelings-based or thought-based?

12barblues
238
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12barblues 07/20/11 - 01:45 am
0
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Most counties in GA are

Most counties in GA are beginning to go block. It's more instructional time for teachers and students. Classrooms are changing. They are becoming more student-centered learning and less teacher-centered. Mainly because of the implementation of technology into the classrooms. Project based learning takes more time to start and finish.

Bowtie355
0
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Bowtie355 07/20/11 - 07:49 am
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It is not true that you have

It is not true that you have more time on the block system. 90 days times 90 minutes = 8100 total class minutes. 180 days times 55 minutes = 9900 total class minutes. The difference is 1800 minutes less under block. That is equal to 33 class days of 55 minute classes. 90 minute classes do benefit lab lessons. Block does allow student a chance to earn 8 credits each year versus 6. It's a tradeoff.

catfish20
272
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catfish20 07/20/11 - 07:50 am
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Our neighbors have used block

Our neighbors have used block scheduling for years with great success.

Reverie
54
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Reverie 07/20/11 - 08:21 am
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Quick survey--how many of you

Quick survey--how many of you enjoy siting through 90 minutes of anything without a break? The military is the most effective system of training in the world. They use a concept of 50 minutes of instruction followed by a 10 minute break. That was based on research of the span of attention of young adults. The child is in school all day no matter what schedule. How you divide the day is debatable. Personally, I hate sitting for 90 min at a time unless its a great movie or sports event, and then I still usually need a quick break to the head.

Reverie
54
Points
Reverie 07/20/11 - 08:28 am
0
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Student-centered learning vs.

Student-centered learning vs. teacher-centered learning is not about the time its about what you do with the time--the approach. The implementation of technology into the classrooms should make the teacher more efficient thereby cut down on time needed to complete a lesson. Project based learning does takes more time to start and finish but others have found that the kids need to be exposed to the project everyday to stay immersed and not every other day lest they forget. Ops, I forgot, kids don't forget where they are and what they're doing.

Reverie
54
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Reverie 07/20/11 - 08:42 am
0
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Teachers run out of time to

Teachers run out of time to fully close the lesson? We are talking about a Standards Based Lesson format that requires many actions within each lesson--no matter what! Teachers and students now spend at least 10 minutes of a lesson reading and "interpreting the language" of the State standards at the beginning, and at the end must use the State standards in a "positive statements" activity. These new actions take time--block schedule.

Reverie
54
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Reverie 07/20/11 - 08:54 am
0
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The driver of this bus is

The driver of this bus is money, NCLB, the GDOE Keys to Quality program, and the CLASS Keys and Leader Keys. The school system is responding to these requirements and changing the education business. Everything we are doing is to comply this these laws and initiatives to get the money.

avidreader
3377
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avidreader 07/20/11 - 10:35 am
0
0
Block scheduling has its

Block scheduling has its plusses and minuses; however, I have attended many conferences where teachers from other areas praise the block system. The kids spend less time in the hallways. Tardiness is not as big an issue. There is more time to focus (in depth) on important issues. And, as a teacher from west Georgia recently told me, it's so much easier to conduct class presentations and discussion seminars. The big negative is ABSENTEEISM. If a student misses one day of school, it's equivilant to missing one-and-a-half. I am a glass-is-half-full kind of guy, but speaking honestly, absenteeism is the bane of our existence as teachers. We are responsible for the academic performance of so many kids who are absent 25+ days per year.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 07/20/11 - 11:44 am
0
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Students are changing. . .
Unpublished

Students are changing. . . schools need to change. Students are the customers of ANY school district.

Project based learning is awesome! The only issue would be the lack of time. I feel that 90 min. classes will provide the time the teachers need to give a more in depth lesson, among other positive things.

Now, teachers will have to make class more interesting and entertaining...which shouldn't be a problem with the amount of technology that is available to students nowadays. . .maybe that will help curb the high absenteeism.

There isn't a "quick fix", but I feel that this a step in the right direction.

IMO

eb97
835
Points
eb97 07/20/11 - 02:54 pm
0
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This is going to be great for

This is going to be great for the students at Laney. This will give them the upper hand over the other high schools except the magnet schools. They will be able to get the needed information for their classes using the block system. With the standard schedule, it takes the teachers 10 minutes to get the students focused before being able to start the lesson and that leaves them so little time to learn the info they need to pass the material before the bell rings for the next class.
This is going to be great for these students and I believe we will see their grade point averages improve.

REDRIDER
134
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REDRIDER 07/20/11 - 04:28 pm
0
0
Bring back truant officers

Bring back truant officers and paddles. I can remember your neighbor could beat your tale end if you messed up. Its whats wrong with today no discipline.

corgimom
33993
Points
corgimom 07/20/11 - 06:32 pm
0
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I interpret that to mean "We

I interpret that to mean "We had to change SOMETHING, our absenteeism and tardiness rates were through the roof last year, and the 8-period scheduling was another one of those ill-thought out, ill-conceived, hare-brained ideas that didn't work"

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