School board passes schedule change

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 15, 2005

Selma High School will return to a seven-period schedule next year due to a narrow-margined decision by the school board Thursday night.

The decision was approved 5-4, with one abstention, after a long period of discussion between board members and Superintendent Dr. James Carter.

According to the recommendation presented to the board, an analysis of the block schedule at Selma High has shown instruction and planning time Is not being used properly.

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“There is a need for structure at Selma High School. Time allocated for instruction and planning is underutilized,” the recommendation states. “Teachers and staff are abusing the ninety-six minutes instructional block at Selma High, which is raising questions among teachers and staff at other schools.”

Board member Benjamin Givan disagreed with the request and felt that very few teachers and students wanted to return to the seventh-period schedule.

“There is no guarantee the seventh-period schedule would work,” he said. “I feel this is a managerial problem and I don’t think we should throw something out until we’ve looked at it from all angles. I know the block scheduling works.”

Another board member, Dr. Ann Fitts, said she did some research and could not find a difference in student achievement between the two schedules.

Board members Dr. Kirit Chapatwala and Dr. David Hodo, on the other hand, both said they strongly supported returning to the seven-period schedule.

Carter said the recommendation was not intended to be “an indictment against teachers and students,” but rather a way to correct a problem.

“I was the one who implemented this program and worked with it for five years,” Carter said. “But when you look at our test scores, they are not at the level where they should be. We have a major scheduling problem, and if we don’t get this corrected, it could lead to class times not being used properly.”

The board also unanimously approved to purchase property on Broad Street for the construction of a new administration building.

The board purchased the property using a $100,000 bond.

Carter said the property purchase would not affect the school system’s budget for this year.

“Right now, we are on budget and we are not over in any category,” Carter said.

Other items on the agenda included:

* Approval to adopt the book “Why They Marched: The Struggle for the Right to Vote,” for third- and fourth-grade students.

* Approval for students passing specific career-technical courses to earn embedded science or math credit and/or substitute specific career technical courses for core courses for graduation.

* Approval of several school field trips.