Tupelo High will study block schedule

TUPELO – The Tupelo Public School District will study the possibility of adding a block schedule at Tupelo High School for the 2011-12 school year.
At Tuesday’s regular school board meeting, Assistant Superintendent Fred Hill said that an exploratory committee will be formed to study whether a block schedule would be a good fit for the school.
Superintendent Randy Shaver said that the school’s current eight-period day does not allow for enough time for in-depth rigorous instruction in individual classes. Classes are 50 minutes long, according to the school’s bell schedule, but Shaver said they are often shorter by the time students transition into the classroom and teachers transition between topics.
“I feel very strongly that we’re not spending enough time on learning,” Shaver said. “That’s not a criticism of our teachers or our students. It’s a criticism of our structure.”
The committee will study several options, including a four-by-four block schedule and an A-B block schedule.
Under the four-by-four, students take four classes every day during the first semester and four different classes every day during the second semester. With an A-B schedule, students would rotate with four classes one day and four different classes the next day.
Currently, students take the same eight classes every day.
The committee also may look at other models, such as switching to a six-period traditional day with more time for each class.
Shaver said he does not have any pre-judgment about whether traditional or block schedules are best but that he does welcome a study to see which model fits best at THS.
“I don’t think what we have now is what we need,” Shaver said. “I’m a big proponent of this study and of seeing what is best for THS.”
The committee also will visit schools that use block schedules. All three high schools in the Lee County School District operate on block schedules.
Hill’s presentation to the board mentioned both advantages and disadvantages of a block schedule.
Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or chris.kieffer@djournal.com.

Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal