Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Parents Speak out on School Scheduling

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Parents Speak out on School Scheduling

Article excerpt

Will students have fewer chances for art, music or ROTC under

the new schedules being considered for Jacksonville high schools

next year?

How will teachers hold the attention of bored teenagers for the

longer class periods that are under review?

Those were some parents' questions last night at Raines High

School in the first of five community hearings scheduled this

week and next throughout Duval County.

The meetings are intended to inform parents about scheduling

options that may be implemented in the next school year. A

decision from the Duval County School Board could come next

month.

But before interim Superintendent Donald Van Fleet takes a

recommendation to board members, he wants to hear community

concerns. The school officials at last night's meeting got an

earful from the 30 or so parents who attended.

Parents like Gloria Dickerson, who has a daughter at Ribault

Middle School, worries a scheduling change will mean fewer

classes such as foreign language. That might hurt her daughter's

chances for college.

"I need a valuable, credible education for my child," Dickerson

said. "She deserves it. I demand it."

Most Duval County high schools are now on a daily schedule of

seven classes of 50 minutes each, with classes running

throughout the year. But school administrators say it costs too

much to continue offering that schedule, which is no longer

fully funded by the state.

The lack of money has led to larger class sizes, putting 12 of

the 17 high schools in trouble with the Southern Association of

Colleges and Schools, which accredits schools. And school system

projections show more students entering high schools.

School officials are considering scheduling options such as six

yearlong classes of 60 minutes each per day or four courses of

90 minutes each. The longer courses would run in semesters, and

students would switch to another four courses in midyear. …

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