June 3, 1995 in Washington Voices

Freeman Board Spikes Schedule Change Resistance From Community Quashes Proposal For Four-Period School Day

By The Spokesman-Review
 

It’s back to square one for advocates of a four-period school day at Freeman High School.

The school board decided in May that the alternative scheduling option was not right for the 300-student high school south of the Spokane Valley.

The new schedule, in which students would take four longer classes every day instead of seven shorter ones, did not have the support of the community, school board members decided.

“Being a part of the community all your life, you have people communicate with you about their most precious possession - children,” said board member Sue Cronk. “All the money in the world doesn’t make a program successful. Community support does.”

A committee set up by the district to study the four-period day surveyed the Freeman community, mailing out 1,418 questionnaires. Of the 222 people who returned the form, 66 supported the fourperiod day and 154 did not. Two were undecided.

Superintendent Harry Amend commended the members of the committee, made up of parents, teachers, students and an administrator, for the work they put into the four-period day proposal.

The group traveled to other schools to observe the four-period day in action, researched even more schools and developed a lengthy proposal.

But in the end, the community was not convinced.

They basically said, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” said teacher Jackie Babin, chairwoman of the committee. “Our response is, we think we can do better.”

Proponents of the four-period day say seven classes per day is too many. With a four-period day, students would have more time to study each subject in depth, gain more hands-on experience and spend more time with teachers.

Those opposed voiced a variety of concerns - ranging from the effect on students’ grade point averages to the possibility of electives not fitting into students’ schedules.

“We felt that we have a good system right now,” said Rick Watkins, a Freeman parent who opposed the four-period day. “I was not in favor of scrapping what we have to go with something we don’t know too much about.”

High school teachers plan to meet Thursday to discuss scheduling options for the 1996-97 school year, which might include pursuing the four-period day further, or researching new possibilities, Babin said.

, DataTimes

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