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Article updated: 11/13/2012 6:10 PM

No changes planned for D300 middle school schedule

By Larissa Chinwah

Administrators in Community Unit District 300 have recommended the district hold off on making changes to the middle school schedule.

The district began discussing changes to both middle and high school schedules last spring for instructional and financial reasons. But while the district implemented an 8-period day for high school students at the start of the 2012-2013 school year, administrators at Monday's board meeting recommended maintaining the current 9-period middle school schedule for the next school year.

Administrators had said any schedule changes at the middle school level would maximize student time in the classroom but did not look at schedules that would make the day shorter or longer.

Kara Vicente, associate superintendent for middle school teaching and learning, said expected changes to the math and language arts curriculums, as well as financial reasons, were reasons for the decision.

"It is clear that we need to make the right changes to the schedule," Vicente said Monday.

She said recommendations would likely result in a need for additional certified staff because many teachers are certified in more than one area, which could limit scheduling options.

In addition, the district is working to align math and language arts curriculums to the Common Core standards, which will be effective in the 2014 school year. Vicente said the district would also monitor the effectiveness of the middle school schedule and consider and changes when resources become available.

Union spokesman Mike Williamson said teachers supported the decision to wait to make changes at the middle school level. Williamson said the general feeling of students and teachers is that the high school overhaul happened too quickly without complete consideration.

"After seeing some of the problems with the 8-period day, I think the feeling was that we didn't want to jump the gun on this one," Williamson said. "We need to make sure we know what we are doing first."

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