2019-01-10 / Opinion

Beware: Rogers High School Parents

To the Editor:

The school administration wants todoa4x4schedule.Thatisa.)a school day with 4 periods and b.) a school day with 4 periods. So, one day will have periods 1,2,3,4 and the next day periods 5,6,7,8. Each period is 82 minutes long. Except for Crew period which is 25 minutes long. The elephant in the room is our attendance rate. As you are probably aware schools are now rated from 1 to 5 (1 the lowest and 5 the highest) in different areas. As you might guess we are rated 1 for attendance. Every year for the last four years we had over 50,000 incidents of absents and tardiness each year with less than 2,200 students in the entire system. Just this past week (which had only 3 school days) Rogers had 489 incidents of students being absent / tardy.

So, being a former teacher, let me equate this to a student’s schedule. The first week 3 days of math and the second week 2 days of math. If by any chance the student is out on the two-day rotation that student would have missed math for whole week. This is unacceptable.

Rogers has tried a block or modified block schedule in the past. The results were not there! I called New Bedford and Fall River and they had block scheduling and got rid of it. I used these as examples because of their similar demographics and their test results are 20 points higher than ours. By the way Massachusetts is ranked number 1 in education, just minutes away. So, why must we try re-inventing the wheel.

With so many students absent / tardy it should be rotating schedule. That is each day the class meets at a different time. So, Monday the periods would be 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 and Tuesday it would be 2,3,4,5,6,7,1 and so on. All my years of teaching that is the best schedule in a 6 or 7 period day. However, I do prefer a 6 period day. This is best for the amount of time in class and is best for having students at different times of the day. Believe me there is a difference what time of day you are teaching students. The excuse will be that Vocational Tech needs to be on a same period schedule every day. So, make it separate from the high school, let it be its own place. I’m sure there is more than one high school with a vocational component attached to it, let’s see what they do for scheduling. The one thing for sure it's always excuse in education.

Now here’s the part that is interesting. The minutes in class in a 4x4 schedule is 7,380 minutes for the year. For a schedule that the class meets every day (as it is presently) it is 8,424 minutes. That is over 17 hours of class time missed, which is over three weeks of class time. You can’t make this stuff up.

Rogers High parents and future Rogers parents you better speak up and let your school committee members know, otherwise this is going to be shoved down your throats. To my knowledge, there hasn’t even been a faculty meeting on this for teachers to air their concerns. I believe that there are enough teachers who would not be in favor of this type (4 x 4) of schedule. These are the people in the trenches who should know best, but we probably won’t ask them.

Bobby Leary
Newport School Committee

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