CARSON CITY — Teachers and students at Carson City-Crystal High School who would like the opportunity take more elective courses may soon get their wish.
According to High School Principal Duane Lyons, school officials are researching and are in preliminary talks about expanding the current six-period high school schedule to seven periods, adding one more class to each students’ daily workload.
During Monday evening’s Carson City-Crystal Area Schools Board of Education meeting, Lyons presented the board with an update on what a seven-period schedule would look like for students at the high school.
“We are looking for ways to provide more opportunities for students,” he said. “Inevitably when you do that, scheduling is going to come up.”
Lyons said the current system of six classes and a half-hour “seminar” period is effective, but not necessarily the best fit for a curriculum that has changed dramatically in the past few years due to state regulations.
He said with the increased requirements brought on by the state to include four years of English, math, science and social studies classes, the availability for elective classes such as band has decreased.
“This would give students more opportunities,” he said. “We feel that the seven-period day has more advantages for everyone.”
According to Lyons, the seven-period schedule could open additional electives that were recently discontinued, such as art, which 25 percent of the student body has requested be a class for the upcoming school year.
Lyons also said the seminar period is more focused on and designed for students who are struggling, rather than students on all levels.
“At times it’s been quite successful in identifying students who are having difficulty, allowing those students to get extra attention from teachers,” he said. “But we need to do something that’s going to be helpful for all students. When the seminar is working at its best, the upper two-thirds of students aren’t really getting the bang for their buck in the time they are spending in school.”
Lyons said by implementing a seven-period day, students who need extra attention can still be targeted for extra help without holding back students who could be challenged with additional coursework instead.
“We can target students who need extra attention and place them with the teachers that they need intervention with, whether it be math, science or writing,” he said. “It would also help the other two thirds of students who aren’t at risk by providing them with more opportunities. We can provide more dual enrollment opportunities and more career center opportunities. For those students who feel themselves that they want to have a college experience, we can help provide that for them as well.”
With additional of an extra period, Lyons said there would be more openings for sections of classes, which would likely reduce the class size as well.
For example, class sizes would be expected to drop for classes that may only offer two sections with 35 students each. Those classes instead would expect to expand to three sections with 20-25 students each.
Superintendent Kevin Murphy said a seven-period schedule for the high school is still just in a stage of evaluation.
“Right now these are just preliminary talk about a seven-period day,” he said. “We’ll be working as we have with the teachers’ union to make that transition if that’s the desire.”
Also at Monday’s meeting, the school board voted unanimously to approve the Montcalm Area Intermediate School District (MAISD) 2014-2015 budget.
“Yearly the intermediate school district has to present to each local school district their general fund budget for the upcoming year,” Murphy said. “The one advantage we saw this year, with the special education millage passing, we will not have to explore, if at all, a “build back” model (to support them). That is exciting. That is a real positive. We wont see that hit out of our general fund for next year.”
The MAISD budget showed revenues coming in at $3,912,240 with $4,577,498 in expenditures for a deficit budget of $665,258. After a transfer of funds of $417,000, the budget remains at a deficit of $247,858, which will leave the MAISD with a healthy fund balance of $371,444.