2018-2019 school year schedule update

Ellie Bennett, Co Print Editor in Chief

In the 2018-19 school year, Fenton High and Andrew G. Schmidt Middle School will return to a standard six period day. Because Fenton has had block scheduling for more than 15 years, this return to the traditional schedule will be something new for students.

“Monday, Wednesday and Friday, students will have six classes for 58 minutes each,” Superintendent Adam Hartley said. “The major change, is that students are going to have the same classes everyday. However, Tuesdays and Thursdays are different; students will have the same classes all six hours, but their first and sixth hour are 49 minutes and then the rest are 48 minutes. So, by shorting the class periods on these days, we now have fit a 58 minute SRT. Lunch will not be any different from this year; it will be the normal, 30 minute lunch.”

Because the new six day period leaves no room for a freshman elective credit, the district is developing alternative options to make it possible for them to take an elective course.

“For world languages, the state of Michigan said that the three years of language a student gets in middle school can be transferred to a high school language credit,” Principal Mark Suchowski said. “This would open up an elective credit for freshman or sophomores. Another way for freshman to schedule an elective is if they do three seasons of a sport, which will give them a semester of gym credit. Ambassadors and marching band are also an option for student to obtain a gym credit, and the student can then take health as an online course to get the other semester credit. Graduation credits have also been modified. Before, there were 32 credits available and now incoming freshman will have 26 credits available and need 24 to graduate.”

Another change in process for the next school year is for classes to commence before Labor Day. This will mean an earlier release date and longer breaks.

“We also are trying to start before Labor Day,” Hartley said. “We filled out a waiver to the State of Michigan notifying them of our decision to do so. We are waiting for their official approval, but if we get the okay from the state, students will be reporting back to school the Tuesday before Labor Day. This would mean we will have school Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with Friday and Monday off and then we will come back the day after Labor Day. By starting earlier, it will add a day to winter break and mean the last day of school will be June 7, instead of going into the second week of June, like we normally do.”

Block scheduling is being cut because the district is looking for ways to save money long term.

“By cutting block, we are saving $1 million each year,” Hartley said. “The reason that we are cutting block and not IB is that we value IB for our students, and with us cutting IB, it’s not going to save nearly as much as the new staffing model. This new model does involve cutting teachers, because for one teacher it cost us roughly $95,000 a year with medical and salary cost. This does mean that there will be fewer teachers next year.”

Because the school is not cutting IB, the option will still be available for students to enroll in the full IB Diploma Program, or to just enroll in a select number of IB courses.

“IB students will still have the option to be full Diploma or course candidates,” Suchowski said. “Students can take one or two IB classes, or to decide to become full IB candidates because there are only six required classes to take to be a full IB.”
Students will be receiving scheduling materials in early Feb. that will help them pick classes for next year.