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The School Newspaper of Lawrence High School.

The Budget

The School Newspaper of Lawrence High School.

The Budget

Schedule change surprises students, teachers

Proposed change for 4th quarter removes early-release, block days
The+original+schedule+has+four+different+schedules+for+five+days.
Jack Tell
The original schedule has four different schedules for five days.

School staff and students were surprised this morning by a proposed schedule change that attempts to make up for required instructional time cut short by snow days. 

The proposed schedule shared with teachers on Wednesday night would eliminate early release on Wednesdays for high school students and remove block scheduling on Wednesdays and Thursdays through the end of the year. 

Math teacher Matt Ellis, a member of the Lawrence Education Association’s negotiation team, was shocked to receive it right before he went to bed.

“I think that there would have been a better way to handle this,” Ellis said. “They should’ve gotten stakeholders at the table ahead of time before they produced a plan.” 

Patrick Kelly, the district’s chief academic officer for USD 497, said the district had to balance several concerns in order to make up the time.

“There are lots of things that were considered and problem solved around. One of the things we wanted to be really sensitive of is our last day of school is right before the Memorial Day weekend,” Kelly said. “If we had added days on to the school year, that would have hit student’s Memorial Day weekend. Five minutes at the end of the day might not have been enough to cover the school days.” 

English teacher Melissa Johnson wasn’t happy with the late notice.  

“I’m angry about it,” Johnson said. “The main reason is that I often think it does not take into consideration teachers who work the hardest in the building who are the people who have carefully planned out the entire semester. Teachers like me.”

Johnson added that this is not the first time something like this has happened. 

“I just think we are a very hasty district, and decisions get made without consulting the people that they affect the most,” Johnson said. “It’s something that really frustrates me about this district.”

Chemistry teacher Lydia Reimers was under the impression that the scheduling issue had already been resolved with a plan to add five minutes to each day starting after spring break. Science labs, which usually take advantage of extra time on block days, will be affected.

“We usually have enough time for students to do their lab and then to answer the questions after and just get everything done on the block,” Reimers said. “So it looks like with some labs we may have to just focus on getting the procedure done and then I’ll have to provide time for them to work on the questions on Friday.” 

After the immediate shock, some teachers said they believe the change made without teacher input could violate their contracts.

“There are provisions for allowing PLC time, which would be violated. There’s plan time minutes that have to be met, which would be violated,” Ellis said. “There are planned days that are set aside that are being made into a professional development day because we can cancel those minutes for contact time, but those days are in the contract so they’re being violated.” 

Teachers are also concerned about the time their students are missing on Wednesdays.

“People may not realize how useful that time on Wednesday is for sibling care, after school meetings with teachers and clubs,” Ellis said. “Everything happens during that time. And I think maybe the people that are making these decisions don’t fully understand their repercussions of their decisions.”  

Many students were upset about this change, including senior Logan Sack.

“It’s not good, especially for classes that need more project-based work time,” Sack said. “It was nice to have a day where you could actually do that work uninterrupted.”

Others are angry about losing their early dismissal day without warning, including sophomore Graysen Eliott.

“I feel like it came out of nowhere,” Eliott said. “All the teachers and students didn’t expect it.” 

 

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About the Contributors
Delaney Haase, Reporter
I'm a second year writer and reporter on the journalism staff. In my free time, you'll usually find me at softball practice, singing, acting, and hanging out with my friends.
Jack Tell, LHSBudget.com Co-Editor in Chief
As the co-editor in chief of LHSBudget.com, I'm looking forward to leading our publication during my senior year. My goal is to continue our tradition of award winning journalism and serve the LHS student body responsibly. When I'm not writing, l prefer to be mountain biking, swimming, or reading. I'm looking forward to covering all sorts of stories and doing quality work this year.

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