September 21, 1995 in Washington Voices

Switch To Three-Period Days Being Considered At Mead

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Mead High School is considering a switch to a schedule in which students would have just three classes a day.

A committee of teachers and administrators is weighing the pros and cons of such a class schedule, which would allow longer teaching periods. Students would study the same number of subjects as now - six - by going to each class every other day.

Laura Gray, the Mead High chemistry teacher who is heading the committee, said a three-period day has benefits to teachers and students.

The longer period - 100 minutes, up from the current 55-minute class time - is supported by teachers in the sciences, humanities and honors and remedial courses.

Gray said in her own classes, students wouldn’t have to rush though lab experiments.

Having fewer classes each day makes sense on the simplest terms, she said.

“If a businessman has six appointments … by the third you lose your concentration,” said Gray. “You would only have three disciplines per day, so can concentrate on three pieces of information.”

In a vote last spring, 90 percent of the Mead High School staff approved studying a schedule change.

Since then, the committee has talked extensively with Puget Sound-area schools that have three-period days. The committee met with staff from Federal Way’s Decatur High School.

A three-period day is gaining popularity statewide, according to Brian Barker, the director of the state’s principals association. Six schools used the schedule last year. Fifty or 60 schools are now looking into the three-period day.

There has not been a substantial study of the effects of a three-period day on student performance, but Barker said the general feeling at schools using it is positive.

Some of the teachers in Mead’s physical education and math departments are concerned about longer periods, Gray said.

P.E. teachers wonder if students have enough energy to run drills or games for 100 minutes; math teachers like the daily repetition of the current schedule.

The three-period day would not effect a student’s ability to fulfill university requirements, Gray said.

Students will be given a 30-minute briefing on Sept. 25 and asked for their input. The committee has already held community forums to hear discussion on the idea, and more are planned.

, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: OPEN HOUSE Information about a three-period day will be presented Oct. 12 at the Mead High School open house. Committee members will be available to talk with parents in Mead’s small auditorium during the open house.

This sidebar appeared with the story: OPEN HOUSE Information about a three-period day will be presented Oct. 12 at the Mead High School open house. Committee members will be available to talk with parents in Mead’s small auditorium during the open house.


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