Why Change the Course Schedule?
As a community, we set a bold goal of 19 out of 20 students graduating, at a time when graduating is not getting easier. In fact, new state graduation requirements make it tougher.
The trimester system gives our students more opportunity to meet these new requirements and does a better job of preparing them for the future they choose.
The high school course schedule we have today gives students very narrow learning opportunities to explore interests outside core academic requirements, and it leaves them with no second chances if they fail even one class.
The five-period trimester system presents a significant opportunity our students do not have in our current semester system. And the costs of not changing are significant: fewer students will graduate on time and no students will have access to a broader array of course options.
A committee of teachers, parents and district leaders looked at adding credit-earning opportunities outside our current six-period day. That works for some students, but not all. We needed system that serves every student.
The trimester schedule is similar to many college schedules. There are fewer weeks in a term, but class periods are longer and students have fewer courses per term.
This will require changes to teaching in order to cover the required material in shorter terms. Our teachers will need to adapt lesson plans and teaching strategies to longer class periods. We are providing professional development, time and support for teachers to help get prepared by fall 2020.
Our students, teachers and staff are smart, capable and will adapt to the new system. We owe it to our students to provide every opportunity for them to graduate prepared for the future they choose.