01STOCK_MILTONSCHOOLS01

MILTON

Milton High School’s calendar will look different in 2020, but school officials say the change will improve students’ educational experience.

The school will switch from its current semester schedule to a trimester schedule next fall.

Under the trimester schedule, students will have five 67-minute classes per day and a 45-minute flex period so they can work on homework or see teachers for help. Instructional time will be reduced by only about five minutes over the year, officials said.

“It’s something that I’m excited about,” Principal Jeremy Bilhorn said. “It’s different, but it certainly will address a lot of the needs we’ve identified.”

A committee of high school staffers visited four high schools with schedules that differ from the traditional eight-period day. The group researched the data it collected and recommended the switch.

The high school’s current schedule makes it difficult for teachers to schedule enough lab time, teach one-on-one and build quality relationships with students, Bilhorn said.

With trimesters, students still will get music instruction every day if they choose, officials said.

Michele Stoutenborough, a math teacher who served on the committee, said the change will benefit teachers and students.

She said the flex period is important.

“It will allow me to give that extra help to students that I can’t see during the school day because they don’t have a study hall that matches my free time,” she said. “It really gives me more time to get one-on-one with kids that need that help.”

Daniel Thies, a school counselor and committee member, said reducing the number of classes and schoolwork in a day could ease students’ stress and increase focus.

“We’ve really seen in our office a large increase of students coming in for mental health issues,” he said. “We certainly know a lot of it has to do with stress and anxiety. We strongly believe that fewer classes in the school day, this is really going to help kids out.”

The number of credits students can earn over four years will drop from 32 to 30, but only 15 students in the Class of 2019 exceeded 30 credits, and nine of them finished with 30.5 credits.

The high school plans to continue to communicate with parents in coming weeks and provide workshops and training for staff. Public forums will be offered for students and parents with questions.

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