Students sound off on plan

By on October 15, 2010

Proposal for 8-period days has opposition
by Keith Beebe
KANELAND—The average class period will be much shorter for Kaneland High School students under a more traditional schedule slated for 2011-12.

Kaneland officials plan to change the high-school class schedule from four, 80-minute blocks per day to an eight-period day beginning in the next academic year. School officials said the move will provide students with a more balanced and complete curriculum, and perhaps even boost ACT scores within the School District.

“We have found that the four-block (schedule) poses a challenge to student learning because it creates gaps in learning, especially for sequential classes,” Kaneland Curriculum Coordinator Erika Schlichter said. “For example, freshmen who enter high school and take a math class first semester could have a gap of up to nine months until they have another math class.”

While School District officials said they have students’ best interests in mind, some of those students are not exactly enthusiastic about the scheduling change, including KHS freshman Madison Hester.

“I really don’t think it’s going to help us, and I think it’s going to make it harder for us to get better grades because we’ll have homework (from more classes),” Hester said. “I think we have more time for teachers to explain the material (in the four-block schedule), and that gives students a better understanding of everything in class.”

According to Kaneland Superintendent Jeff Schuler, district officials touched on the idea of changing back to a traditional schedule last year when they put into place four-year improvement plan. One of the plan’s strategies was to assess the impact of schedule on student achievement at the high school level.

“What I have a concern with is, when you have a big lapse of time between math classes you’re taking,” Schuler said. “We feel that moving to a more traditional schedule will create a more sequential and consistent learning experience for students.”

Although district officials designed the new schedule to keep students more in touch with subjects such as math and science, some students are concerned that more classes will mean more homework.

“I am a two-sport athlete who goes from one sport to the next, two or three times a week,” Kaneland freshmen Lanie Callaghan said. “And even with four classes, it’s really hard for me to get all my homework done. I’m worried this will affect my GPA. Also, what about the kids in the Fox Valley (Career Center) classes? Those kids won’t be able to travel to their classes without the block scheduling.”

Callaghan recommended that the district require additional ACT prep classes, instead, to improve student test scores.

Despite the apprehension of some students, Schuler believes the decision to change back to the eight-period day will ultimately benefit the entire school district.

“This decision came out of our desire to improve academic achievement for our students,” he said.