Voting on 8-period day : Sutherland for Schools blog
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Voting on 8-period day

by Ann Sutherland on 02/13/19

I have asked Dr. Scribner and President Jackson to place a vote on discontinuing the 8-period day on the agenda.  

The UEA survey indicates that 77% of secondary teachers disagree with the statement, "The 8-period day has resulted in positive academic results."  In addition, 70% want it discontinued.

The 8-period day mandate was implemented without board approval last year. As a result, (a) after five minutes are subtracted from the class time, learning time has decreased from 50 to 40 minutes a day, a 20% decrease in classroom learning.  

More troubling, last night's Annual Performance Report indicates there was an increase in violent and criminal incidents of 17% after four years of improving performance. 

And again, 2/3 of our teachers say restorative discipline is not working (how could it when there is nowhere enough time for individual student/staff consultation?).  And 20% of our teachers say they do not feel safe in their classrooms.

To continue these practices is foolhardy.

Comments (10)

1. Parent who supports you said on 2/13/19 - 07:22PM
I can't speak for other parents, but a group of us from Paschal strongly support doing away with this 8 periods a day. We are struggling to find classes for our kids to take. Kids are adding 4.5 and 5.0 courses to their schedule because they don't want their GPA to fall. This causes so much more homework and stress and they don't even need these additional classes to graduate. Plus now the lunch period is shorter. We were not given a voice in this decision. More importantly, what was the rationale and where is the data to support this rationale. Thank you for listening.
2. Ann replies said on 2/13/19 - 09:18PM
I believe the rationale has been to provide more career and technical education (CTE) offerings. There was no supporting evaluation material provided and the decision was made without board approval. I questioned the superintendent's decision at the time.
3. Middle School Teacher part 1 said on 2/13/19 - 09:34PM
Dear Dr. Sutherland, I almost started crying when I heard your words at the end of last night’s board meeting. The eight period day is detrimental to all involved. Academically, we are unable to provide quality instruction due to the 45 minute period. We have so many interruptions- pep rallies, field trips, testing, the mandated Achieve 3000- that I honesty can’t remember a week this year where I was able to teach for 5 straight days. It’s causing unconnected lessons and massive backtracking to bring students back on track. I am unable to have student conferences during class because there is no time. The 8 period day means that students are in passing periods for 45 minutes everyday, the equivalent of one class period. We have lost instructional time. I feel certain our scores will reflect this.
4. Middle School Teacher part 3 said on 2/13/19 - 09:38PM
Socially/emotionally, I am unable to make the connections that are the bedrock of student success. I don’t have time to make the meaningful connections with parents because I am stretched beyond capacity. The number of students and 3 preps are overwhelming. My exhaustion level in October was what I normally experience in April. It has not improved. I understand some are being told the 8 period day cannot be changed for next year because the planning for such an endeavor is massive. How is it then that the 8 period day was thrown at us last year at such a late date? Schedules in middle and high schools had already been loaded when we were told it was all to be changed. Many decisions were not handed down until late May.
5. Middle School Teacher part 3 said on 2/14/19 - 03:41AM
As a possible temporary solution, I offer this: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday would be traditional days where students follow a straight 1-8 period day. Tuesdays and Thursdays would be blocked, with periods 1-4 on Tuesdays and periods 5-8 on Thursdays. This would capture some of the passing period time and allow teachers the time needed to be able to dive deeper. Thank you for speaking out and trying to make the board aware. I appreciate you.
6. doxiemama81 said on 2/14/19 - 12:51PM
I am not a teacher, but am married to one in another district. They have dealt with the 8 period day by doing an alternate type of block: Mon& Wed are A days, periods 1-4 at 1.5 hour classes, Tues& Thur are periods 5-8 with same class times. Then on Friday, they meet all classes for 45 minutes. This allows teachers more time with students 2 days a week, and on Fridays, they see all their students for a shorter time. Not perfect, but his school has done it for a few years. It gives students more class time, and more time in between meeting classes for homework to be done. Students also end up with some class time to work on assignments with teachers in their to answer questions. Their scores have gone up the past couple of years.
7. Parent voice said on 2/14/19 - 01:21PM
We transferred from a school district that is close to here that was 8 periods BUT we did a type of block scheduling. It was soooo helpful! I think it was M/W for periods 1, 3, 5, 7 and t/th for 2, 4, 6, 8. Then friday was all 8 classes. Something like that. I'll ask the kids
8. Anne Daar said on 2/15/19 - 02:26PM
I appreciate you beginning this discussion, Dr. Sutherland. As a parent, educator, and community member, I am interested in the data regarding how this new format has impacted student learning and educational performance. The comments made by FWISD teachers are powerful and insightful. As the professionals who are most impacted by this change, the teachers’ voices need to be an integral part of this conversation.
9. Ann replies said on 2/19/19 - 06:41AM
The required number of minutes of schooling is now controlled at the year level, so schools can vary the length of the school day or the length of the year. I expect there will be lots of differences from now on; it's just a matter of community preference (and probably also the need to have buses available for the different levels). FWISD is putting forth a proposal for different lengths of the day to parents for ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS, not our secondary schools, btw.
10. High school parent said on 2/19/19 - 06:45AM
I am writing to encourage you to consider doing what you can to eliminate the 8 period schedule during the 2019-2020 school year. I am concerned that it is not providing the kids with the depth of learning necessary for success in each class and that the kids are being spread too thin. FWISD has publicly stated it aims to reduce stress and pressure and yet this is an incredible source of pressure on the kids. More moving parts, more classes to keep up with, and more they must teach themselves at home (ie: more homework). Please consider a change, or some effort to alleviate the schedule until a change can be made. I believe this is an urgent matter and appreciate your shared concern.

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