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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Eight-Period Schedule Update

Due to the fact the district was cut $13 million this school year by the Texas Legislature and will be cut an additional $13 million next school year, we’ve made the decision to move to an eight-period day at the secondary level (for high school, middle school, intermediate school).

We provided a draft schedule earlier on our blog for the MISD community to review prior to the Thanksgiving break to begin the conversation on this new change for next year. We received some valid concerns and valuable input through the comments in addition to emails, calls, and discussions.

Here's the latest update on the proposed eight-period schedule. The updated schedule includes:
  • 45-minute classes
  • High School will start at 7:30 AM and end the day at 3:00 PM
  • Middle Schools will start 8:45 AM and end their day at 4:10 PM
  • Intermediate Schools will start at 8:30 AM and end their day at 3:55 PM
  • Elementary Schools will start at 8:00 AM and end the day 3:30 PM

How does an eight-period schedule save $6-$10 million?
On the A/B block schedule, teachers teach six of eight classes. On the eight-period schedule, teachers will pick up one class to teach seven of eight classes. That extra class translates to 67.5 teaching positions or $4 million. Additionally, the students taking courses at Ben Barber Career Tech Academy for 150 minutes on an eight-period schedule generates an additional $3 million in funding through the Career and Technology Education (CTE) Allotment. And finally, when MISD went to the eight-period hybrid schedule for middle and intermediate schools this year, it saved $3 million. We’ll realize that same $3 million in savings next year as well.

We’ve also heard some common academic concerns about changing schedules:

Instructional time - Currently, in a two-week period, high schools have eight classes (four on A days and four and B days). Each class lasts 90 minutes for a total of 450 instructional minutes per two-week period. On the eight-period schedule, the students have eight classes each day. Each class lasts 45 minutes for a total of 450 instructional minutes per two-week period.

Homework - On the A/B block schedule with classes every other day, students can potentially receive homework five days in a two-week period. With the eight-period schedule, schools will develop a homework schedule that enables teachers to assign homework five out of every 10 days in a two-week period. Example, 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th periods would be able to give homework on odd days of the week and 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 8th periods on even days of the week. As you can see, that translates to five days of potential homework in the 10 school day period the same as A/B block.

Testing (Six Week Tests)
A/B block schedule allows time for four tests on A days and four tests on B days.
On the eight-period schedule 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th periods would test on odd days of the week; 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 8th period test on even days of the week.

Updated Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - A Mansfield News-Mirror December 7 article on the eight-period schedule incorrectly references the next steps in the decision process. The Mansfield ISD school board will not vote on the schedule. The schedule is an administrative decision (not subject to board vote). For reference, the administrative decision on the schedule will be made after the December board meeting.

Updated Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - The MISD Board of Trustees heard a Presentation and held a discussion during the December Regular School Board Meeting. A final decision on the proposed eight-period schedule will be made by the administration after the Winter Break.