Peach County High schedule to change

jmink@macon.comMay 7, 2013 

FORT VALLEY -- Peach County High School students will notice a significant change in their schedules next school year.

The board of education unanimously voted Tuesday to switch from a block to a seven-period schedule. Since the mid-1990s, Peach County High School students have taken four classes a semester, switching classes each semester. Beginning in August, students will take seven classes a day year round.

“This is for our student learning ... the top of our list is student achievement,” Board Chairman Jamie Johnson said. A majority of schools in the midstate region already use a seven-period schedule, and there are several benefits to the new schedule, officials and board members said. First, it will give both students and teachers more time to focus on each subject and prepare for end-of-course exams. They will spend a year studying those subjects as opposed to a few months.

Under the block schedule, students spend more than 90 minutes in each class, which some say is too long. Students become restless, and teachers often must give breaks during class. With the seven-period schedule, students spend 50 minutes per day and get an estimated additional 20 hours of seat time in each class, officials said.

Furthermore, students will take standardized tests once instead of twice a year, and it will ease the scheduling and transfer process for students, board members said.

As a result of the change, the number of graduation credit requirements will decrease. For next year’s seniors, the number of required graduation credits will decrease from 28 to 27. The state requires 23 credits, and most schools with seven-period schedules require 24 credits, said Gail Swaine, district director of grants and administrative services.

“We would drop one (credit requirement) per year until we got to that point,” she said.

To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 256-9751.

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