Janesville28.6°

Edgerton High to drop block scheduling

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Stacy Vogel
August 26, 2008
— The decision to take Edgerton High School off a block schedule was not easy, Associate Principal Clark Bretthauer said.

“We would prefer to be in the model we have, but we can’t afford it,” he said Monday after the Edgerton School Board meeting.


Edgerton administrators met over the summer to figure out how the high school can run on a reduced staff. The district expects high school enrollment to drop from 616 in 2007-08 to 500 in 2011-12, and state aid will drop accordingly.


The district already has recommended the high school cut two teaching positions in 2009-10. If the enrollment figures prove accurate, it also could have to cut three teaching positions in 2010-11 and seven in 2011-12, reducing the teaching staff by more than a third.


Officials concluded the best way to achieve the reduction is to switch from the high school’s four-period “block” schedule to a traditional eight-period schedule in 2010-11. Bretthauer recommended the switch Monday, and the school board approved it unanimously.


“I hate to see us reverse (the block schedule), but I understand,” board member Jim Raymond said.


The high school instituted the block schedule in 1996. Edgerton officials say the four-period day allows teachers and students to spend more time on subjects, offers more choices to students and reduces discipline problems.


But the model is an expensive one because it doesn’t include study halls and teachers receive 88 minutes—a quarter of the school day—for prep time.


An eight-period schedule will reduce staffing requirements in two ways:


-- Teachers will get 44-minute prep periods instead of 88-minute ones.


-- Students will be required to take one 44-minute study hall a day. More students can fit in a single study hall section than a course section, so fewer teachers will be needed per period.


A student will be allowed to avoid a study hall only if he or she needs a class to graduate or get into college, Bretthauer said.


“It’s less than ideal, but we’re able to maximize staff,” he said.


Seniors in good standing will continue to be eligible for 88 minutes a day of “open” period, when they can leave campus if desired.


Because the schedule will include study halls, the graduation requirements will be reduced. Currently, students must earn 28 credits to graduate. That number will be reduced by one for each graduating class, starting in 2009-10 until 2012-13, when seniors will need 24 credits.


“We wanted to make it come in really smooth, a really smooth transition,” Bretthauer said.


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Here are the number of credits required for an Edgerton senior to graduate under the new system:


-- Class of 2009: 28 credits.


-- Class of 2010: 27 credits.


-- Class of 2011: 26 credits.


-- Class of 2012: 25 credits.


n Class of 2013 and subsequent classes: 24 credits.



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