Frequently Asked QuestionsHigh School Schedule Advisory Committee1. Why is the District considering a change to the high school schedule?
2. What is the charge of the High School Schedule Advisory Committee (HSSAC)?The implementation of Washington State Law (E2SSB 6552) now requires that high school students earn 24 credits to graduate starting with the class of 2019 and beyond. As a result of this increase from 22 credits to 24 credits, the current six period day at Mount Si High School may no longer meet the needs of all students. Therefore, several school schedule options, that will allow more credit-earning opportunities and flexibility, are being studied to address this change in graduation requirements.The HSSAC is charged to study the high school daily schedule to accommodate programming related to the following: new Core 24 requirements (E2SSB 6552), college and career readiness, equal access for all students, interventions for struggling students, opportunities for advisory, student/teacher collaboration, Small Learning Communities (SLC), Project-Based Learning (PBL), and opportunities to reduce student stress. Recommendations must maintain the integrity of the Freshman Campus Model, and include financial considerations and a timeline for implementation.3. Who is on the schedule advisory committee?All Mount Si staff members were originally invited to participate on the HSSAC. The HSSAC includes approximately 25 Mount Si High School teachers, parents, students, non-teaching staff, and administrators.4. When did the HSSAC begin this work and how often do they meet?The HSSAC began meeting in March of 2016. As of April 28, 2017, the committee has met approximately 22 times over the last 14 months and continues to meet weekly.5. How will a decision be made?Once the HSSAC develops a recommendation (via a consensus model), the committee will bring the recommendation to the Mount Si High School staff for consensus. If approved by the staff (using the MSHS consensus model), the recommendation will be presented to the Superintendent.6. What is the timeline for a decision on a new high school schedule?
The HSSAC anticipates presenting a recommendation before the end of the 2016-17 school year.7. When will Mount Si change to a new schedule?
Implementation of a new schedule would begin in fall of 2018.8. Is it possible that a new schedule will result in a longer school day?The HSSAC is working under the premise that the length of school day will remain unchanged.9. Will school start and/or end times change?The HSSAC is working under the premise that start and/or end times will remain unchanged. However, a separate process to evaluate start and/or end times will be initiated at a later date.10. Will the early release Friday end time change?
The HSSAC is working under the premise that Friday Early Release schedule will not change and Mount Si High School will continue to dismiss at 12:19 p.m. on Fridays.11. How will the new schedule impact teacher planning/preparation time?Currently, teachers have approximately 55 minutes per day of planning time. All of the schedules under consideration should increase this time. However, some of this new “open time” might be utilized to offer “office hours,” training for advisory or other professional development, departmental collaboration, and time for revising course scope and sequence, as well as to support other school-identified needs.12. In an alternating or modified block schedule, will teachers still have at least one full class period of preparation time during each instructional school day, per the Collective Bargaining Agreement (Article 36)?13. Will the new schedule affect the number of instructional hours per course credit?
In most cases, yes. It is possible to create a master schedule that maintains a daily preparation time during each instructional school day for each teacher. However, from the site visits and research, the committee learned that sometimes, because of other scheduling conflicts and teacher preferences, it is possible a teacher may not have a daily preparation time on an instructional school day, but have “extra” preparation time on another instructional school day that same week. In this scenario, teachers should still have the same total number of minutes per week of instructional planning time as a teacher with a daily preparation time.
Yes. All schedules considered by the HSSAC have the net impact of reducing the number of instructional hours per course credit. There are no state required minimums. Hours of instruction per course credit is determined locally.14. How will this impact courses with significant content, such as Advanced Placement (AP) courses?
Because all the schedules studied reduce the number of hours per course credit, the committee studied two nearby school districts that run a 7 Period Alternating/Modified Block Schedule. The committee looked at how their students performed on Advanced Placement tests compared to SVSD students. From a comparison of the data below, it does not appear the schedule plays a major factor in student performance on AP tests. This is consistent with other research the committee has reviewed.Percent of total AP exams with scores of 3+ (source: College Board, 2016 results):
15. Will teachers be provided time and support to adjust to a new schedule?
- Bellevue School District (7 Period Alternating Block Schedule): 75%
- Mercer Island School District (7 Period Alternating Block Schedule): 87%
- Snoqualmie Valley School District (6 Period Schedule): 79%
Yes. The District will support staff by providing ongoing time to prepare for the change, as well as release time and professional development to ensure the new schedule is implemented successfully.16. Are the impacts to part-time teachers being considered?
Yes. For example, a teacher who only teaches four courses will be 0.8 FTE. If a teacher currently has a 0.8 FTE schedule with no first period class, in a 7 period alternating block schedule they might not be scheduled to teach during first or fifth period, and might have second period as their planning/prep period. In another scenario, where a teacher currently has a 0.8 FTE schedule with no sixth period, in a 7 period alternating block schedule they would not be scheduled to teach during fourth or seventh period, and might have sixth period as their planning/prep period.17. Will the new schedule include advisories?
Yes. In order to meet the conditions of the committee’s charge, any schedule option recommended will include weekly blocks of time for an “advisory” program. A separate committee is working on the specific advisory model.18. What is the “Activity” period showing on the various schedule options?
In an alternating or modified block schedule, on the day(s) of the week when only three classes are held, an exciting opportunity exists to offer a shortened activity period, one or two days per week. This time might resemble the current “Pride Time” or it could be used for assemblies, to minimize impact on instructional minutes in regular classes. During this time, students can get help with classwork, do homework, take test corrections, take surveys, participate in projects or clubs, and/or connect with teachers, counselors and peers.19. When did the committee eliminate the 3 x 5 Trimester Schedule option?
The committee reached consensus on March 16 to eliminate the 3 x 5 Trimester Schedule. Key concerns were: yearlong classes being completed in two trimesters, as well as the likelihood of schedule gaps in those same courses. For example, an Algebra course could be scheduled in Trimesters 1 & 3, creating a learning gap in Trimester 2. The committee’s site visit to Kelso HS (currently using a 3 X 5 schedule) validated these concerns.20. When did the committee eliminate the 4 x 8 Alternating Block Schedule (A/B weeks) option?
The committee reached consensus on April 19 to eliminate the 4 x 8 Alternating Block Schedule. A key concern that surfaced was the challenge of teachers being responsible for up to ~180 students (6 classes times ~30 students per class). Another key factor had to do with the frequency of classes meeting. In the 4 x 8 schedule, half the classes only meet two times each week or only five times over a two-week cycle.21. Will a new schedule affect class size?
Depending on the schedule chosen, small changes in class sizes are possible.22. Will every week during the year run on a block schedule?
It depends. On the site visits, the committee learned there are some weeks that it might be better not to have block schedules, such as the first week of each semester or a few other times during the year when a holiday falls in the middle of the week. Those decisions will be made during the planning for implementation.23. Have students and parents been involved in the process?
Yes. There are three students and one parent serving on the committee. In addition, the committee has held two Student Focus Group activities, which involved approximately 50 students both times, and offered two Parent Information Night opportunities this year to share details and gather input. Early in the process, a survey was also conducted to gather initial thoughts on a potential schedule change.