By ANDREA VARGO
Block scheduling and graduation standards need to be placed on separate time tables, according to Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted (HLWW) High School Principal Michal Day in his presentation to the school board Tuesday.
"We sent teachers to schools, both in and out of the area, to look at block scheduling and graduation standards," he said. "We wanted to know how these schools were doing with both things."
Block scheduling breaks the student's day into four blocks of time instead of seven periods.
Theoretically, this gives teachers more time with the students, and students have more time to complete homework.
Teachers followed the blocks in their own areas throughout the school day, and they asked other teachers about pros and cons, he said.
They talked to teachers, students, and administration. For some the jury is still out.
Dassel-Cokato is in the middle of its first year, so there wasn't any comment from them, yet.
A majority of schools that use block scheduling favor it, said Day, except for music. This block is generally broken into two blocks to retain student interest.
Some areas of concern are adequate staff and prep time, student numbers and adequate building and media facilities.
"We know our media center is inadequate," he said.
"Also," he asked, "do junior high students fall into the block scheduling because of cross-over teachers who teach both high school and junior high students?"
More research is needed, he said, and more teachers need to visit other schools.
Because of the time and effort needed for both block scheduling and graduation standards, it may be too much to tackle at one time, he said.
It is nice to hear teachers say (about graduation standards), "We are already doing this," said Day.
The teachers are coming back with good ideas, he said.
Long range facilities task force
The Long Range Facilities Task Force met Feb.2.
"It was a good initial meeting," said School Board Member Jim Fowler. "Everyone was brought up to speed on prior information."
The group will tour school facilities Thursday and Saturday, with a meeting scheduled for Feb. 24 with the demographer, said Fowler.
Board Chair Jim Raymond said, "I think this group will move quickly."
School age care
Students began the School Age Care (SAC) program in October, which was late, according to program director Margaret Marketon.
The program is only offered in the afternoon, and Marketon would like to know if it will be offered in the summer.
The board needs to discuss information gathered by the Laker Pride organization and Marketon in order to come to a decision. Surveys will be conducted to determine possible use by parents.
Marketon said 21 students have participated, but some of them are seasonal. Parents who are laid off for the winter take over during that time.
Nine students are attending SAC; one is full-time and eight are part-time.
School board member Mary Pettit asked Marketon if she intended to promote SAC at kindergarten round-up. Marketon said she felt their on-going promotions were sufficient.