Starting next school year, Carrboro High School students will switch to a block schedule, where they'll have longer and fewer classes Tuesday through Friday with designated free periods for enrichment.
At Thursday’s Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education meeting, the board unanimously approved a motion to adopt a modified seven-period block schedule for Carrboro High School for the upcoming school year.
Currently, Carrboro High School students take all seven of their classes every day. Under the new calendar, students will take all seven of their classes on Monday, but from Tuesday through Friday, they will only take half of their classes per day, for 92 minutes each.
Tuesdays and Thursdays will include students’ first, third, fifth and seventh classes. Wednesdays and Fridays will include students' second, fourth and sixth classes, with a new 92-minute “flex time” period at the end of the day.
The school is planning additional professional development to support teachers with the new schedule changes, Carrboro High School principal Beverly Rudolph said. She said she is not concerned about the potential for lectures to expand to fill the lengthier class times, as teachers have already started shifting away from traditional lectures.
“There shouldn’t be anybody in my building, on the regular, lecturing for 30 minutes,” Rudolph said.
Board member Ashton Powell said the longer class times create an opportunity to expand lab and activities.
Rudolph also said the shift to a block schedule could reduce students’ workload. In the current seven-period school day, she said students receive too much homework. Her team has been discussing what it means to give homework, especially given the ongoing pandemic.
Jamie Fernandez-Schendt, equity and excellence coordinator at Carrboro High School, said the school has made changes to homework policies. At the start of the school year, the school established homework guidelines and communicated this information with teachers and families. They hope to continue this practice in the future, he said.
“If teachers are moving towards a standards-based grading model, in many ways that does start to address some of that homework stuff that we're concerned about, because we're reimagining what homework is or is not and what role work like that has,” Fernandez-Schendt said.
Flex time is intended to allow students to focus on social-emotional learning, enrichment, academic support, independent or group work and club meetings. At the beginning of flex time, teachers will be expected to lead a 15-minute check-in with students, and on Fridays, teachers will also facilitate schoolwide advisory curriculum on topics like equity and executive functioning skills.
After the required components, students can sign out to pursue various activities, such as attending a club meeting, reviewing content with a teacher in individualized meetings or getting ahead of homework that is due the following week.
Also at the meeting, district administration presented updates about the state of the gifted education program. Kate Kennedy, director of gifted education at CHCCS, said the district’s gifted education has been recognized by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. The gifted education team has been revising the district's Governor’s School referral process and expanding enrichment activities for students in grades K-5.
The district is also planning for extended year learning, which will include summer academic programming to account for educational impacts caused by COVID-19.
The proposal for summer programming is necessary to meet N.C. House Bill 82 (Summer Learning Choice for NC Families), Assistant Superintendent Jessica O’Donovan said. Additional academic and social-emotional supports have been added to the summer program curriculum.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.