District 207 to change to hybrid schedule

Updated 6/7/2017 4:50 PM

Maine Township High School District 207 will switch to a hybrid block schedule, despite opposition from the teachers union.

School board members voted unanimously Monday to change to a schedule designed to allow more time for college and career counseling, reduce lost class time between periods and give students more class choices. School board member Jin Lee was absent.

The Maine Teachers' Association opposed the change, arguing the union had been shut out of the decision-making process and questioning whether the schedule will improve learning.

"We feel the schedule is too costly to justify the possible benefits," Julia Heyden, vice president of the association, said in a statement at the meeting.

The teachers union argued the schedule means instructors will cover fewer topics and that it will reduce their ability for flexible instruction. Additionally, students will have irregular schedules and absences will be more stressful.

During three days of the week, the schedule would be similar to the current schedule in which students attend all classes. The remaining two days would change to a block schedule, where students have longer class periods and attend only half their courses.

While studying the plan, the district plugged students' schedule requests into the proposed model and determined it could fill 700 more requests than the existing schedule.

Superintendent Ken Wallace has said the schedule will become a trend because it combines advantages of block and traditional scheduling.

Most subjects will be taught for longer periods of time, but students will have less time in science courses. Students will have more time for college and career counseling.

The teachers union also argued the administration has implemented dozens of changes the past few years, and this is yet another change.

"There's been a lot both publicly and privately about our membership's willingness to change and to cooperate," Jen Sarashinsky, another vice president of the association, said in a statement at the meeting. "We've been told we need to open our minds. This is an obsolete argument."

The schedule will be implemented for the 2018-2019 school year.

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