March 23, 2017 by stoptheblockhvrhs
For some time now, after hearing parents’ objections to the new 4×4 schedule, incoming superintendent Pam Vogel has said that she would continue to listen to parents and that the decision to move to a new schedule was not final. Last night (Wednesday, March 22) at a meeting at HVRHS, Dr. Vogel answered questions, listened to concerns, asked some questions of her own, and finally announced her conclusion that we are not ready to move to a 4×4 block. We thank her for her willingness to listen to the community.
This does not mean that Housy will not move to some form of a block schedule. To be clear, this blog was created to raise awareness about our objections to the specific schedule that was being proposed, so even though it is called “Stop the Block” we do not blindly object to any and all block schedules. On Tuesday, March 21, parents, teachers, students and several board members heard presentations by staff and administration from Bolton and Newington High Schools. Their talks focused on mastery based learning and how it drove changes to their schedules. Neither of them use a 4×4 and neither use semester classes, but each adopted extended blocks in different ways to accommodate mastery based learning. (We have not had much opportunity to research this subject, but one of the things they both said is that their modified schedules allow groups of teachers of common subject matter blocks of time to work together on curriculum, assessments, and professional development). There is bound to be information online about mastery based learning and the administration would undoubtedly be happy to provide information to anyone who wants to know more, but suffice it to say, the reasons behind a schedule change have not gone away.
Where this leaves us is looking forward. Dr. Vogel indicated that she will work with a group of parents, teachers and administrators to come up with a schedule change that incorporates collaborative time for teachers to start moving toward mastery based learning. Principal Jim Wenker of Newington High School made the point that no schedule is likely to be best for any two schools; what works for one probably isn’t right for another. We hope that all parties will keep open minds and work to come up with the best compromise for Housy.