New schedule proposed for District 116 middle schools

 
 
Updated 1/10/2017 12:15 AM
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  • A desire to provide more academic opportunities to students is behind a new bell schedule proposed for middle school students at Round Lake Area Unit District 116. Round Lake High School Principal Donn Mendoza, who doubles as a District 116 deputy superintendent, gave a presentation on the initiative Monday night.

    A desire to provide more academic opportunities to students is behind a new bell schedule proposed for middle school students at Round Lake Area Unit District 116. Round Lake High School Principal Donn Mendoza, who doubles as a District 116 deputy superintendent, gave a presentation on the initiative Monday night. Daily Herald file photo

A desire to provide more academic opportunities to students is behind a new bell schedule proposed for middle school students at Round Lake Area Unit District 116.

Round Lake High School Principal Donn Mendoza, who doubles as a District 116 deputy superintendent, presented the middle school schedule proposal to elected officials at a meeting Monday night. The proposed schedule shift would affect roughly 1,600 students at John T. Magee and Round Lake middle schools.

Mendoza said the idea is to create a schedule that provides various levels of support based upon student needs, such as academic intervention or enrichment. He said the schedule would ensure all core subjects are taught daily and allow for more academic opportunities.

"We can basically enhance the middle school program without adding costs to the district," Mendoza said.

If approved for 2017-18, the middle school students would move to 45-minute periods for classes. The current block schedule is 1 hour 21 minutes per class.

As part of the new schedule, the middle school students would have a period with 38 minutes of flexible time. Mendoza said the new bell schedule with shorter periods could allow for the return of a world language program.

Students at the middle schools in Round Lake and Round Lake Heights currently start at 7:40 a.m. and depart at 2:09 p.m. The day would go from 7:25 a.m. to 2:20 p.m. with the proposed schedule change.

In a report by a committee that's been tasked with creating the new schedule, several other reasons are listed for pursuing the initiative. They include providing more robust exploratory offerings and increasing teacher collaboration time.

District 116 board member Michael Francisco raised a concern about whether having students in classes for about five hours until a lunch break is too long under the proposed schedule.

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