San Benito High School’s class bell schedule for the upcoming 2018-19 school year has been modified to add a 35-minute homeroom/academic focus period four days per week “to embed a dedicated opportunity for teachers to provide intervention and enrichment for all students,” according to a SBHS District news release.
“With a dedicated time to intervene and enrich learning, we now shift our system to where a student cannot opt out of receiving support outside of class,” SBHS Principal Adrian Ramirez said. “We can also guarantee to our community that every student will have an opportunity, within the bell schedule, to access support in a more equitable system.”
The current rotating three-block schedule features three 100- to 105-minute blocks every other day on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with a shortened schedule on Thursdays. The new schedule will feature 80- or 90-minute blocks with a 35-minute homeroom period on Mondays and a same-length academic focus period on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
The optional Zero Period, currently offered as a 62-minute period from 7:35-8:37am Tuesday through Friday, will move to a daily, 60-minute period running from 7:35-8:35am.
The regular school day in August will start at 8:45am—five minutes earlier than this past school year—and the instructional day will still end at 3pm, which is the same as this year. Minimum days will still take place on Thursday, with school ending at 1:45pm, instead of 1:50pm under the current schedule.
“We also know that within our current model….we rely on offering students opportunities for support before school, at lunch or after school,” Ramirez said. “The issue is that we can state with certainty that a very fractional percentage of our student population actually participates in the additional support provided by teachers outside of classroom time.”
To address this, administrators this year have been meeting with and gathering feedback from teachers and other San Benito High School staff members to come up with a schedule that replaces an optional tutorial system that Ramirez said yields “minimal results.”
For students who are academically driven, have social capital and don’t have other barriers to learning, the current system works, Ramirez said.
“However, we know that a significant percentage of our student population has to navigate through barriers that prevent or discourage them from taking advantage of these opportunities outside of the bell schedule,” he said.
Ramirez said the new academic focus period embedded within the daily schedule will benefit students who are achieving at proficient or advanced levels, as they may also need support.
“Having dedicated time to access support in preparing for an upcoming test, a comprehensive writing assignment or a group project would be just as valuable for those students,” Ramirez said. “It would also allow the opportunity for those students to collect work if they are leaving school early for an activity, or come in to make up or catch up on missed work.”
Additional details about the schedule will be shared with students and parents in advance of the start of the 2018-19 school year in August, according to district staff.