High Schools could be headed to a seven-period school day

The proposal would allow an in-school planning period for teachers and extend the school day by 15 minutes.

Flagler Schools Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt. File photo
Flagler Schools Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt. File photo
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Matanzas and Flagler Palm Coast high schools could return to a seven-period day beginning next school year.

The item appears to be headed to next month’s School Board agenda.

Currently, the high schools operate under a modified block schedule. Under that schedule, all teachers have their planning periods before school starts. In a seven-period day they would be able to have a period set aside for planning during the school day.

District staff presented the School Board with information on switching to a seven-period day at the board's  information workshop on Jan. 18.

“We have not had planning inside the school day since the 2010 to 2011 school year,” said Bobby Bossardet, assistant superintendent for academic services.

Teachers would be able to schedule their planning periods with other teachers of the same subjects and be able to collaborate with their peers, said Louise Bossardet, Flagler Schools’ coordinator of data quality.

In a seven-period day, classes would be 47 minutes long, which would extend instruction time by about four minutes per class, compared to an 86-minute block for a one-semester class. With the first semester typically shorter than the second semester, the seven-period day would allow for more consistency, Bobby Bossardet said.

Two or three additional teachers would probably have to be hired under the plan, Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt said. 

State assessments would be limited to the spring. The high school day would be about 15 minutes longer, beginning at 8:10 a.m. and ending at 2:40 p.m. Currently the high school day runs from 8 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.

Because of bus schedules, middle school and elementary school schedules would also be affected. The middle school day would begin five minutes earlier at 7:20 a.m. and continue to end at 1:40 p.m.

Elementary school days would no longer have a staggered start, with all five schools starting at 9:10 a.m. and ending at 3:40 p.m.

In a survey among teachers at both high schools, about 80 percent were in favor of moving to a seven-period day. Many of the teachers who wanted to remain with the current schedule were in favor of switching but believed next school year would be too soon, Louise Bossardet said.

School Board member Cheryl Massaro asked if the extended day would force athletes to miss class time when they have away games. Bobby Bossardet said surrounding districts have later school days than Flagler, so departure times should not be earlier.

The board generally appeared to be in favor of the change.

"I'm thrilled we are doing this," said board member Colleen Conklin. "I'm so glad we’re addressing this now."

Mittelstadt told board members, "The next step, if you approve start and end times, is we can bring this forward in February.”


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