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School board to vote on DHS schedule, academies

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During a workshop last Friday, the Dickinson Public Schools administration and Dickinson High School principals proposed ideas on the school's schedule to be voted on by the board Monday, Jan. 13.

In previous workshops, school board members expressed concern about the time frame for roll out of the academies, which was to begin next school year with the implementation of the freshman academy. They also expressed concern about the school's plan to change class schedules.

Upon the board's request, DHS administrators sent a survey to teachers regarding the changes. After getting the feedback that some teachers weren't comfortable proceeding with the AB schedule next year, the district came to a compromise.

"In terms of the AB schedule, it seemed like there were certainly teachers that were very excited to go to that AB schedule and there was teachers that had concerns about that," said Brent Seaks, school board president. "I don’t know if you could go so far as to say the majority of teachers weren’t ready to go to the AB schedule. I had mentioned that I got emails, more that were in support of the AB schedule than were against it."

Dr. Shon Hocker, superintendent, made a recommendation that the school move forward with the freshman academy next school year but keep the current block schedule until the following school year, 2021-2022.

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The change could mean that teachers have less planning time to prepare curriculum for their academies.

The AB schedule would have increased the amount of collaborative planning time teachers within the same academy have to plan their academy curriculum. While maintaining the current schedule means giving up that extra time, Hocker said they can make it work with the time they have.

"We have planning time," he said. "When we're working on what we call the essentials, we have dedicated about 75 minutes every week where we are essentially collaborating and working on those exact things. We just will have to be more purposeful in working out those details."

Hocker suggested they might also utilize the summer break to prepare for the academies.

"It’s really tricky because you want to get things going but at the same time you really want to be sure you can get as many people onboard as possible and clear up any communication issues, and if there are concerns, you want to be able to address those concerns," Seaks said.

Related Topics: EDUCATIONDICKINSON PUBLIC SCHOOLSDICKINSON HIGH SCHOOL
Kayla Henson is a former Dickinson Press reporter.
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