School Board decision on changes in high school day on hold

The Fayette County School System and members of the Board of Education have been considering the idea of changing the high school day using one of three possible models that would give students the ability to earn more graduation credits. That consideration may come in November after additional input from the community and school system staff can be further reviewed.

“We need more time to digest the information from the stakeholders,” Superintendent Jeff Bearden told board members at the Oct. 17 meeting, adding that he also wanted to wait until the board had a chance to more closely determine if the system-wide school calendar might undergo a change next year for budgetary reasons.

Both school board members and Bearden in previous meetings have noted that increased graduation requirements by the state have made it more difficult for students to take elective courses of interest or ones that can bolster their competitiveness for college. The three alternatives included on the survey would be expected to provide the means to earn those additional credits.

The three options that surfaced in July would increase the number of classes that could be taken during the school year, thereby allowing a student to earn more than the 24 credits encompassed in the traditional six-period school day. Georgia requires 24 credits to graduate.

The three proposals in the survey included a trimester schedule, a seven-period schedule or a seven-period hybrid.

The trimester schedule would include five classes in each of three semesters in the school year and provide the ability for students to earn up to 30 credits.

The seven-period day would allow students to earn 28 credits, as would the seven-period hybrid. The difference in the two is that students under the hybrid schedule would have seven classes on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays and four classes of 90 minutes each on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

The school board could potentially take up the issue in November.