Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
MC proposes modified block schedule for high school
BY K. SCOTT KREIDER, Correspondent
Manheim Central High School's schedule of four blocks a day will be modified into a hybrid block schedule as early as fall that will allow some shorter periods for remediation and enrichment, under terms of the new teachers' contract.
Manheim Central teachers and officials reached an agreement Thursday and presented their plan for a new high school schedule to teachers on Monday. The new high school schedule ties up one of the final loose ends in the collective bargaining agreement.
Last month, Manheim Central Education Association and the school board voted to ratify a teachers' contract for 2010-15, effectively ending a nearly three-year impasse in negotiations.
An article in the contract stipulated that a committee be formed to reach an agreement on the high school schedule.
"Teachers had a lot to take in at our meeting today," MCEA president Louise Anderson said in an email on Monday.
"The problem now is that with the new Keystone exams, we are mandated to provide more remediation," interim Superintendent Fred Cummins said in a phone interview on Monday.
The new schedule, set to be implemented for the 2013-14 school year, will allow one of the four blocks to be split into two shorter blocks of instructional time.
The modified blocks will run an entire year instead of just one semester. The new schedule is more conducive for courses such as world languages or applied music, Anderson said.
"Students develop skills in these subjects that can be lost if they only have that course for one semester," Anderson said.
There will also be a new 30-45 minute period after the second block devoted to enrichment.
"We need to design just what will be offered during this time," Anderson said. "Enrichment could be helping students who need more time to learn state-tested subjects, preparation time for students taking advanced placement tests or allowing students opportunities to deepen their understanding in a subject area," she said.
Despite the schedule changes, there will be no changes in teacher preparation time, Cummins said. The new model "allows us to keep the good aspects of the four-by-four block schedule while allowing us to offer remediation for students who may need extra help," he said.
Anderson and school board president Bryan Howett signed the collective bargaining agreement on Monday. The schedule addendum should be ready to sign later this week, Anderson said.
"When all parts of the contract have been signed and bound, I will then feel a bit of relief," Anderson said.
For more Manheim Central area news, visit: MyManheimCentralNews.com.