Sunday, January 18, 2009

Keep the Block Schedule or Scrap It?

Supposedly, there is a plan to possibly change the Block Schedule at San Lorenzo School District High Schools. There's going to be a community meeting at Arroyo High School at Wednesday, Janurary 28th from 6:30pm-7:30pm.

For those who are curious, I have a YouTube video of the public comments made by teachers and students at the SLZUSD Board Meeting on December 19th, 2008. The meeting minutes aren't going to tell you anything, since they only contain the names of who spoke.

My friend and current sophomore, Stanley Cheng, has started a FaceBook group on this issue to keep the block: (link)

At 22 members, I don't believe it has been effective enough. What does this mean? Are some students "FaceBook-ignorant" (or uninterested, as noted by one sophomore, who considered FB "preppy")? Or,  are students excited for a schedule change?

To be honest, I really don't know. The petition people said they got about 100 signatures, and their goal is to get 3/4 of the freshman, sophomore, and juniors to sign it.

Me personally, I'm all for a period schedule. Arroyo Students can challenge themselves, and it will give us a chance to find ways to work harder. These block-schedule supporters are making the period a bigger problem than it really is: other high schools have been doing it for years, and I haven't heard many complaints from them. It's b/c they're used to it. It's definitely possible to go for period. 

But the rationale seems to be slightly flawed for some who are interested: raising test scores to decrease the achievement gaps between underepresented and overrepresented minorities to secure funding under NCLB. This is hard to get around since the state has more power than the school board. Changing the block to period works for some people, but not everybody. Therefore, it shouldn't be a matter of a schedule change, but how the ciriculum is taught, and the incentives to do better on state tests.

My journalism teacher suggests this: place the test scores on your high school transcript. 

Speaking of doing better, this school week, I should post up pictures of a silly poster campaign of study-tips that our school seems to be doing to make sure our test scores rise. It's almost comparable to the CampaignForBerkeley pictures.

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