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The traditional 40-minute class schedules at East Aurora's middle and high schools could be history by September 2002, the target date for proposed block scheduling to kick in at both schools.

Administrators have been researching alternative schedules over the past two years. School officials gave their first formal presentation on schedule proposals at Thursday night's School Board meeting.

"We're kind of behind the curve," said Dennis Leach, middle school principal, noting that a number of schools throughout the country and Canada have abandoned traditional schedules. "It's probably about time we did something different for the benefit of the students and the teachers."

Depending on the type of block format selected, middle school classes could range from 65 to 82 minutes on an alternating-day schedule. The change would mean a gain of 20 to 25 minutes of instructional time, plus more time for lunch and changing classes.

The middle school, with 500 pupils, houses sixth through eighth grades. Those pupils now have eight 40-minute classes daily, with four minutes between classes.

Leach said administrators are close to refining proposals which they believe will work at both schools -- but not until fall 2002. A semester format is not being considered.

For the high school, Principal James Hoagland said his proposal focuses on an A-B block schedule with alternating days that would offer 82-minute classes to the school's 650 students in ninth through 12th grades.

Study halls may be eliminated and teacher-group planning periods would be scheduled for the end of the day after school dismissal, Hoagland said.

The high school currently has 40-minute classes daily with students having six or seven classes a day, plus an activity period at the start of the school day.

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