For the past two years, jr. high students have had a different schedule from the high school students. They have hour long core classes in the morning, and electives in the evening with a 45 minute ELT bell. We asked multiple teachers and other staff members what this schedule was all about.
We asked the 7th and 8th grade English teachers on their input into these new schedules they have had for almost two years now. Ms.Hackney, the 8th grade teacher, was asked the advantage of the one hour class schedule she replied “It provides time for kids to ask questions, to get a little bit of extra time in class, and have less homework. I like the hour long schedule.”
But with every advantage there normally is a disadvantage being “Our schedule is different from high school’s, so naturally 9th graders are going down the hallway. It’s understandable that they talk in the hallway, it’s just It gets a little loud sometimes.” She also said, “Sometimes certain days, certain lessons just don’t last the way that you expect them to.”
The next teacher we asked was the 7th grade English teacher, Ms. Hibbett. She was asked the same questions as well the first one she replied “I think that the schedule is really good. I think that the kids are appreciating it because they have their core classes in the morning when they are more fresh and their energy is not zapped from the day.” And the second one she said, ”I think it’s helping math classes because kids needed more time to practice their skills, but language arts switched from and double bell to a single bell this year. So that’s been challenging.”
We also asked Dr. Orso, Mr. Hartley, Mr. Sparks, and Mr. Spelic about the Jr. High schedule. Their answers came out pretty similar to each other. Mr. Hartley stated ¨We noticed that there was a need for the four core classes to get a little extra time in the Jr. High level. We wanted to balance these needs compared to the high schools need to open up electives.¨ He also mentioned that ¨Students tend to have a little bit more focus in the morning so that’s another reason we bumped it in the morning for the core classes.¨
When talking to Dr. Orso about why the schedule was switched, she said ¨The reason we sort of changed up the Jr. High schedules is to provide a transition between elementary school and high school.¨ Many of them said that there are no challenges, but Mr. Spelic said, “There are some challenges. For example it does lock in the fact that all Jr. High students are in core classes in the morning which means there are no Jr. High electives in that time, so it does make things a little dicier.¨ Besides that there seems to be no problems with this schedule.
But is it working? For the most part it is too early to tell because Jr. High has only had this schedule for on two years. Mr. Sparks said that ¨One thing they found was that it worked, but what also working was longer time in other classes as well¨
After many group discussions, this decision was made. The hour long core classes seems to be a good thing for the Jr. High students to transition to high school, and for the most part seems to be helping but only time will tell if this is actually positively affecting students.