By KIM KILBRIDE
South Bend Tribune
5:57 AM EST, February 4, 2013
There's the alternating block, the block and the 4-by-4 block, not to mention the modified block, the traditional and trimesters.
A variety of ways exist these days for high schools to schedule the time students spend within their confines.
South Bend schools is beginning to ponder changes to the way it does so.
Adams, Clay and Riley high schools might add a period each day.
The major benefit to a traditional seven-period day vs. a traditional six-period day, Cindy Oudghiri, director of high school programs for South Bend schools said, is the opportunity for students to earn more credits in a school year.
The drawback is each class is shorter.
The school board will have a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Administration Building to hear a proposal from district officials to move to a seven-period day.
Administrators from Washington High School, which is currently on trimester scheduling, Oudghiri said, will follow the debate and consider the change, as well.
With six-period days, Oudghiri said, students can obtain 12 credits each year. With seven-period days, that number jumps to 14.
The change would also mean students could potentially graduate in three years rather than four, she said, and take advantage of a state scholarship for early graduators.
Seven periods would also give students who struggle more time to retake classes, participate in a credit recovery program or get extra help, Oudghiri said.
Additionally, students would have more opportunities to take electives they're interested in, but currently can't fit into their schedules.
The drawbacks of adding a period each day, she said, include the shortening of each class period.
Currently, classes are about 55 minutes long. Adding another period would mean they'd decrease to roughly 45 minutes.
It also would mean teachers would be teaching more classes each day.
But on a financial front, Oudghiri said, the move would be budget neutral.
Jason Zook, president of the teachers' union in South Bend, said he has no major concerns about how such a switch would impact students or teachers.
However, he said he'd like to see all fourhigh schools on the same schedule regardless of which schedule that is.
Board Secretary Dawn Jones said it's too early to say if she'd support a change to seven-period days for the high schools.
Jones said one of her questions is whether the new configuration would be complimentary to the district's 8-step program, a system that's known by different names at different schools, but generally is a strategy for testing students more frequently and immediately remediating those who don't pick up the material that was taught.
Board member Bill Sniadecki said he is interested in learning more about the seven-period day.
His biggest concern, he said Friday, is the shortened length of each class.
As for its history, Oudghiri said, the six-period day has been around in South Bend schools for at least two decades.
At one point, the district switched to block scheduling for the high schools, she said, but ultimately reverted back to six periods each day.
Staff writer Kim Kilbride:
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