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Old 03-18-2011, 01:28 PM   #1
KiminChicago
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Related to kids and electives thread -- How is your high school's schedule arranged?

After posting on the kids and electives thread, I decided to go back and pull out all the information we got regarding scheduling for DS's high school classes. I'm glad DS has it handled because I think I need a spreadsheet to figure it out!

DS's high school has a calendar with 4 quarters. Each school day has 4 blocks. That means there are a total of 16 terms every year. Each term counts as half a credit, and each block is an hour and 25 minutes long. DS is scheduled for English (2 terms), World History (2 terms), Geometry, Algebra II, Biology, PE (2 terms), Band (4 terms), Chorus (4 terms) and Spanish II (2 terms). I'm not sure how long the math and science classes are, but I'm guessing they are each 2 terms. So that gives my DS 22 terms?!

We did sign him up to take PE over the summer (both terms) because we were told that was the only way he could take Band and Chorus and Spanish II at the same time, but that still leaves 20 terms to fit into a schedule with only 16 terms. We've also been told that he'll be on an A/B schedule for Chorus and Band so they'll together only use up one block, but then I don't see how he gets full credit for both.

As if that isn't confusing enough, by the end of his freshman year, he'll have completed his world history, half his science, two thirds of the math and all of his "strand 1" (art, music, foreign language) requirements for graduation. He needs only 26 credits to graduate and he'll be getting a possible 11 credits as a freshman? Even if he only gets half the credits for Band/Chorus, he'll still have 9 credits for the year. I'm so confused!
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Old 03-18-2011, 01:40 PM   #2
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Our district operates on the 2 semester model in HS. There are two semesters. Each semester has four quarters. Each day has four blocks.

So this year, his schedule looked like this:

Semester one:
Block one: Health and Band (every other day)
Block two: English 10
Block three: History 10
Block four: Broadcast journalism (1/2 semester class) Television Communication (1/2 semester class)

Semester two:

Block one: Gym and Band (every other day)
Block two: Geometry
Block three: environmental science
Block four: French 3

The problem I have with this model is that he has math, science and French the second semester of this year, but may not have them again until the second semester of his Junior year...so about seven months apart. This is especially difficult in math and languages- if you don't use the skills, you lose the skills (or at least, it takes time to catch up again).

I don't know how many credits they need to graduate ( I leave that up to him and the guidance counselors when they do their scheduling!) but I do know that our kids need 60 hours of community service hours to graduate. My son had double that by the end of his Freshman year, and will likely quadruple it by the time he graduates.
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Old 03-18-2011, 01:42 PM   #3
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Fun isn't it?

Didn't you have HS sign up orientation where they explained all of that?

Now with this dd at this school it is pretty straightforward. We have the 7 classes a day thing for the yr. However we can combine them with Standard or Blocked and some are only standard or blocked and then you have A/B/C days on top of that.

They make the kids do a 4 yr plan and pick the classes for the whole 4 yrs on paper. It really helps the kids sort out things with picking for 9th grade yr.
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Old 03-18-2011, 01:54 PM   #4
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Our high school has two semesters per school-year, two quarters per semester (4 per year). The school-year starts the Tuesday after Labor Day and usually ends sometime after June 18th or so. (And I seem to remember a year when school wasn't over until June 26th.) The classes are arranged with block scheduling having "A" days and "B" Days. There are a total of four class-periods per day with 7 subjects taught during the two days, the extra class is called a 'flex' period. Flex rotates through the 7 subjects, starting with the Period 1 subject and then working its way through the seven subjects to start all over again after the Period 7 Flex. The school-day starts at 7:20am and ends at 2:05pm, with the kids getting about 20 minutes or so for lunch (which starts for some students at 10:30am) and I think they have about 7 minutes between classes.

The schedule looks something like this:
Monday("A" Day): 1,2,3,4
Tuesday("B" Day): 5,6,7,Flex 1
Wednesday("A"): 1,2,3,4
Thursday("B"): 5,6,7,Flex 2
Friday("A"): 1,2,3,4
Monday("B"): 5,6,7,Flex 3
...and so on.

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Old 03-18-2011, 02:03 PM   #5
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Wow, those are confusing. My DS has 2 semesters each with 2 marking periods. Almost all classes are for the full year, they have a few that are only semester courses matched with a second semester course in the same discipline.

Gym classes are for 3 marking periods with one for health, except sophmore year it's 2 gym, 1 health and 1 driver's ed.

They have 8 periods in a day, 1 for lunch, 1 for gym and 6 real classes. You can take an additional class during lunch but are not supposed to eat. DS won't give up his lunch, he eats in 5 min and then uses it as a study hall.
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Old 03-18-2011, 02:26 PM   #6
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j's m -- that sounds like my high school growing up. I think that's why I'm finding DS's scheduling so weird -- every term is like the equivalent of a semester long class.

We did go to the orientation session, which is why I knew DS needed to take the summer PE classes in order to fit the other stuff in, but that was two months ago so it's gotten a little fuzzy.

DD is in 6th grade and her team in the middle school has also decided to try block scheduling. So on "A" days she has History and Math and on "B" days she has Language Arts and Literature. She has Science every day, and on Fridays she has all of her classes. Oh, and she is also on an A/B schedule for Chorus and Orchestra, but it's not the same A/B schedule as her other classes since it includes Fridays.

School was a lot simpler when I was younger!
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Old 03-18-2011, 02:44 PM   #7
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I'll take DS's schedule over the Block system anyday!

He has two semesters each with two marking periods.

Most classes are year long, but some elective's are only one semester each. He is a sophmore, but tested into higher classes. He has 3 AP classes this year and is taking college Latin (this is only his second year). He has taken 2 computer electives both photoshop and has tons of other options. His only personal "setback" (meaning he really didn't want to take it) was health. It is a one semester course and he is done.

I guess since it is a private school he has more choices for electives because if a teacher has an interest to teach something for example, Waterpolo, the school will fit it in. If you do a sport, you do not have to take gym unless you want to, but are required to dabble in different coursed - must have one music, one art, one technology. Since they are all one semester courses, your required electives can be complete after first quarter of your sophmore year, and if you are tested up, you really can have quite a few college courses prior to graduation, and they don't cost anymore than your actual tuition, plus a book fee since it is not in the normal curriculum. The school pays testing fees.
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Old 03-18-2011, 03:49 PM   #8
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Are we the only ones on Trimesters? They have 5 classes each 70 minutes long. They'll have English, Math, Science, Foreign Lang. etc for 2 Tri's. Could be first and second tri, second and third tri, or, my favorite, first and third tri. They earn 0.5 credit for most classes each tri. The dates are something like this: beginning of school to Thanksgiving, T-giving to early March, early March to end of year.

As if that wasn't confusing enough, they can take classes at the local community college for free, but the college is on Semesters! If you have a free period first class first tri, you could schedule a class at the college; but you'd better hope when second tri starts your first period is free. They overlap by about 3 weeks. Talk about a PITA.

The supposed upside is that they only have 5 classes and not 7 at a time. And the longer periods gives the teachers more time to do more involved lessons, especially in the sciences.

It must be working, we went from academic watch to excellent.
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Old 03-18-2011, 04:18 PM   #9
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We are on a 7 period/day trimester system at our high school. Core classes, math, science, foreign languages, band, etc. are year long-so you sign up for 3 trimesters. For Language Arts credits-Freshman/Sophomore year you sign up for 3 trimesters of what ever class you are taking, regular, college prep, honors, AP, etc. Junior and senior year you still have to take classes but you have a choice of about 30 "electives" that are a trimester long. So in your junior year, for example, you could take Creative Writing first tri, British Literature second tri, and Modern Lit 3rd tri. Same with social classes. Any AP classes, though, run for the full year. You have 21 "slots" to fill each year.

The middle school is on an A/B system with 5 periods/day plus and activity period (sounds like Agnes' schedule). By far the "best" schedule is the AB one. I LOVED that schedule. Classes were longer, kids got to go more in depth into subjects--especially for science classes. Homework was nice because they had two days to get it done, etc. This was the schedule we had in college too (a 6 day rotating schedule-I liked it then too).

I prefer the trimester schedule to quarter/semesters too.

A 4 period block schedule is just so difficult to fit classes into-especially if kids are in music. It is also possible to have math first semester of your freshman year and then not again until junior or senior year if your school only requires 2 "years" of math. It is really not conducive to long term retention of material.

Then, like the OP is finding, there is really limited time for electives. With only 16 "slots" to fill your required courses pretty much take all that time. If we had a block schedule, kids wouldn't get any "electives" outside of band or choir until senior year. With 4 LA, 4 Social, 3 Math, 3 science, 2 foreign language, 1 arts and the 2 1/2 years of PE-that fills up a 7 period schedule for 2 years. A friend of our's son didn't get into Spanish in his senior year because of their block scheduling and when they offered Spanish II. The only option would have been to drop AP Chemistry. He did contact the colleges he was looking into and explained the situation and they were ok with him not having 2 years of a foreign language in favor of AP Chemistry so that helped but not every school will do that.
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Old 03-18-2011, 04:20 PM   #10
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At my DD's high school:

Four 'quarters'. Each full year course is for all four quarters, and counts as 1 credit. A half year course (runs either Sept-Jan or Feb-June) is half a credit. Students need 26 credits to graduate.

Classes run on an A/B schedule, four periods per day, 84 minutes long each. Third period actually runs 114 minutes long because it includes 30 minutes for lunch.

In other words, they have 4 classes per day, and each class meets every other day. Half year courses only meet for half of the year.

This semester my DD has:
A days Art, PE, English, Latin
B days Study Hall, Algebra, Science, World History


On Wednesdays, they have 'advisory' which is like homeroom. It's an extra 20 minute period that they stick in after 3rd period (and each of the other classes is slightly shorter that day to compensate for hte extra period).
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Old 03-18-2011, 05:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j's m View Post
Wow, those are confusing. My DS has 2 semesters each with 2 marking periods. Almost all classes are for the full year, they have a few that are only semester courses matched with a second semester course in the same discipline.

Gym classes are for 3 marking periods with one for health, except sophmore year it's 2 gym, 1 health and 1 driver's ed.

They have 8 periods in a day, 1 for lunch, 1 for gym and 6 real classes. You can take an additional class during lunch but are not supposed to eat. DS won't give up his lunch, he eats in 5 min and then uses it as a study hall.
This is similar to our HS, but they can also take zero period, and skip lunch. Looking ahead, DD will be taking zero for the next three years, and this might be her last year with a lunch (some of the courses she wants are only offered certain periods).
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Old 03-18-2011, 05:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j's m View Post
Wow, those are confusing. My DS has 2 semesters each with 2 marking periods. Almost all classes are for the full year, they have a few that are only semester courses matched with a second semester course in the same discipline.

Gym classes are for 3 marking periods with one for health, except sophmore year it's 2 gym, 1 health and 1 driver's ed.

They have 8 periods in a day, 1 for lunch, 1 for gym and 6 real classes. You can take an additional class during lunch but are not supposed to eat. DS won't give up his lunch, he eats in 5 min and then uses it as a study hall.
This sounds like our schedule too!
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Old 03-18-2011, 05:32 PM   #13
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When I was in high school we had a different system.

We had five classes a day, with three of them being 90 minute classes, and two of them being 45 minute year round classes. The three 90 minute classes switched at semester

So for example, this was my schedule at the end of my senior year
7:00-8:00 am (AP Lit YR)
8:10-9:25 or so: Spanish III
9:45-11:30: Government
11:30-12:10: Lunch
12:10-12:55: band YR
12:55-1:40: Ag Leadership YR
and I was out by 1:40 every day because of my AP Lit optional morning YR class, which equated to a semester period.

I also took a college course that enabled me to go home at 1:40 every day, because it equated to a semester of regular classes. Overall it was an excellent senior year
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Old 03-18-2011, 11:35 PM   #14
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Well, DD12 isn't there yet. But I do know there in her step mom teaches school near Richmond Va, it is how your DS has it. and she was talking about that the other day.

So essentially, they are cramming a year's worth of SOL stuff into 1 full semester?

They actually do that at DD's school with Science and Social Studies. She will start off with one of the other, then they cram a year's worth of study and the class is for a longer period of time, then 2nd semester switch. but the other core classes are year round.

Then they do A/B days, I couldn't keep track at first. then band and orchestra are "block" classes.

Very different when I had high school, we had stuff every day. then in 11th and 12 th grades, I had World history or U.S. history-sorry it was the 80's, English and chorus, as I was done with my math and science requirements. then I had a magnet school at the same time and had what would be a block course for childcare, and 12th grade took government there as well.
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