After three years of using an alternating-day block schedule at Alden High School, the district may return to the semester block schedule the school used previously for the 2014-15 school year.
The current scheduling system the high school uses has students taking seven or eight classes throughout the course of the 40-week school year on alternating days, with an A schedule and a B schedule. With the 20-week semester block schedule the school used before the change, students would take three or four classes for 20 weeks, have final exams on those courses in January and start a new set of three or four classes in February that run through June.
“It was two mini years,” said Alden High School Principal Kevin Ryan.
Board of Education member Ken Stoldt brought up the schedule at Thursday night’s board meeting, asking Ryan how he felt about the change in scheduling systems.
“My true opinion is that, with the semester block, our students were more successful,” Ryan said.
The district was forced to change to the 40-week block schedule after the state decided to eliminate the January exam period three years ago to save money, Ryan said, noting that the elimination of January exams made it impossible to hold the final exams necessary for the semester block schedule.
“There was so much public outcry that, within months, they overturned that decision and reinstated January exams,” he said.
By that time, however, Ryan had already changed the high school’s schedule, he said.
“We stayed with the alternating-day block because, my thought was, with all of the change, and not knowing what’s coming down the road in terms of test assessments or whatever assessments we go to, I wanted to wait and see what the state was going to do,” he said.
While the semester block is “not a perfect schedule,” Ryan said, the statistics he has kept over the years show that students perform better under it.
It also allows students to take classes for college credit and possibly qualify for early graduation, Ryan said.