Students and Parents,
While so much of our focus seems to be invested in wrapping up the school year, there is quite of work already being done to get the 16-17 school year off to a good start. Part of this involves making a couple of changes.
Revised Bell Schedule
Over the past few years, we have worked with a bell schedule with seven classes meeting three days per week. The other two days were “block days;” the seven classes were divided up with four classes meeting one day, and three classes and chapel meeting the other. We are moving to a schedule that will have six classes and chapel meet on Monday, and establishing a rotation of three classes that meet every other day along with a couple of classes that meet every day for a shorter period of time. The impetus for the change comes from our experiences in watching the students prepare for seven periods with little time for reflection on what they were learning. Monday allows us to set the stage for the week. The other days are modified block days that rotate, allowing students to prepare for fewer classes each day. We set up A and B periods as shorter periods that meet four times per week for classes like band, choir, and other electives that could benefit from daily practice. The schedule looks something like this:
|First Period||Second Period||First Period|
|Third Period||Fourth Period||Third Period|
Phenomenal Fridays would move to Marvelous Mondays on a monthly rotation. (Please note that classes have not yet been assigned to class periods. That schedule is still in process.) Monthly early dismissals for in-service will also move to Mondays.
We are going to require that students in grade 9 - 12 Bring Your Own Device with the following capabilities:
- It must be able to connect to our wireless system and to the student’s Google Apps account
- It must have a keyboard attached and/or available (Bluetooth keyboards are ok).
- It must have a battery that can last a day of school without having to be recharged.
With more of our teachers moving away from static textbooks and toward the more dynamic resources available on the Internet, it is time for students to have a device that can connect to those resources in each of their classrooms. While there will still be some licensing fees for access to some of these resources that need to be collected each year, those costs should be less than the cost of the textbooks. We believe that the resources a family invests in the device will be similar to what they would spend over the four years of high school.
While many schools supply a laptop for each student, our research shows that the cost is prohibitive due to the expense of support personnel and extra equipment. We also believe that students are more likely to take better care of the device knowing that it is their responsibility to have it ready for each class. Finally, a student/family-owned device allows parents complete accessibility in reviewing how it is used.
These devices do not need to be the latest or greatest. A Chromebook for less than $200 will more than do the job. We are also exploring the possibility of using older laptops that can be converted into Chromebooks thru a product like Neverware (Neverware.com). Families who find the additional expense to be a problem are invited to contact Mr. Visser for help in locating a device.