Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Education

January 23, 2014

A new approach

High school schedule to be built from scratch

It’s back to the drawing board for school leaders and volunteers fleshing out a new class schedule format for Andover High School.

After months of work, a group of four teachers, four school district administrators and two parents charged with putting together a new schedule for Andover High School is looking to take a different approach, according to Assistant Superintendent Nancy Duclos.

Their work had been focused on studying what other districts around the state, including Acton, Lexington, Lincoln-Sudbury, Natick and North Andover, have in place for their high schools, Duclos said. But the team didn’t find what it was looking for.

“We did visits. We really did our due diligence before we came to the point where, ‘You know what? None of these are feeling good. None of these are hitting the mark,’” Duclos said. “We’re going to try to design our own.”

In the meantime, the school will continue under a four-block, three-by-three teaching schedule — where teachers teach three courses per semester, as established in the current labor contract.

The process for a new schedule moves forward next Friday, Jan. 31, when representatives of all the high school’s departments will meet following an early-release day for students to share their schedule needs content-wise with program advisers, Duclos said.

“A math course might need something very different than an English course,” she said. “By content area, what is it you would like your schedule to do?”

Then, the high school’s Parent Advisory Council will bring parents and students together for a focus group on Monday, Feb. 3, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the high school. Duclos said parents, students and teachers will work in small groups to come up with ideas on what schedule format best fits Andover High.

The hope is to have a recommendation no later than November. Then, the Andover Education Association and School Committee would meet to “impact bargain” the recommended proposal, Duclos said.

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