Scheduling talks continue

Published 9:17 am Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Prince Edward County School Board continued talks regarding the possibility of switching to block scheduling at the Jan. 9 board meeting and decided that the decision was at the discretion of division Superintendent Dr. Barbara Johnson.

Dr. Barbara Johnson

The discussion followed a contentious conversation in November between school board members claiming that block scheduling had never been discussed and that it should be a board decision.

“As a board member I trust you as the top educator for our group,” said Vice-Chairman and Leigh District Representative Dr. Timothy W. Corbett Sr. regarding Johnson. “To that same end, in November I thought that the board was kind of blindsided. We weren’t really expecting, anticipating … where they were going with the block.”

Email newsletter signup

He said he didn’t have the impression that it was coming from the superintendent.

“At the same time, realizing that professional development, that model that (Prince Edward High School Principal Gwendolyn McQuaige-Hicks) gave is an ideal model but it has to be built up to other teachers to get on it to, to be able to use it for remediation and other things you have in mind,” Corbett said.

“I realize they have seven classes now with a 52 minute (period),” McQuaige-Hicks said at an earlier

Dr. Timothy Corbett

point at the Jan. 9 meeting. “With block scheduling they’d have eight but it’d be four the first semester and four the second semester.”

She said there were a plethora of opportunities that would be interwoven into a 90 minute period.

“For instance, I want to compare it to now. We have a 52 minute class period. Well you use the first five minutes for a bell ringer. The next 20 minutes you want to utilize that for … direct instruction,” McQuaige-Hicks said. “And then you have very limited time in which you can have your small groups, you can have your enrichment and so forth. Imagine all of the time that you can have with that 90 minute block. You won’t feel as rushed.”

She said the extra time would allow for a more enriched learning experience.

“Block scheduling gives us the opportunity to go more in depth,” Johnson said. “For me, quite honestly, the huge advantage to this is to be able to provide remediation to students in school for those students who are not doing well.”

She said last year senior students who failed a Standards of Learning (SOL) test had to be pulled out of class for tutoring in order to retake the test.