Rock Hill High School to try eight-period class schedule

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2005

ELIZABETH TOWNSHIP - Rock Hill High School is making an effort to improve test scores and help students make the grade.

At the behest of acting superintendent and high school principal Steve Lambert, the Rock Hill Board of Education Tuesday evening agreed to change the school day for middle and high school students from seven 48-minute classes to eight 43-minute classes.

This additional class period will allow for daily intervention for students who are struggling to make good grades. The struggling students will spend that eighth period in small intervention classes getting specialized help in core subject areas such as math and science.

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"It's going to be a big undertaking, but if we do this we think we will have an opportunity to improve test scores and will allow us to give those kids a double shot of the extra classes they need," Lambert said.

Students who are earning good grades will have an opportunity to take enrichment courses such as show choir or advanced social studies, Lambert said.

"Our staff has totally bought into this," middle school principal Wes Hairston said. "This is real intervention."

Board member Troy Hardy asked if other schools in the area use the eight-period day and if the idea was effective for them.

"I know Coal Grove went into the opposite direction, with block schedules," he said.

Lambert said Dawson-Bryant is the only school he knows of in this area that has stayed with block scheduling, most use the seven-period day. The idea for the eight period-day came from former interim superintendent Lowell Howard, who said the plan was effective in some of the schools he had been associated with.

"I would like to evaluate this at the end of the school year, maybe look at kids' test scores," Hardy said.

He asked that the wording of the proposal be changed to stipulate that the plan would be enacted for one year and then evaluated.

The vote on the proposal was 4-1, with board member Jackie Harris casting the dissenting vote. Board members Lavetta Sites, Paul R. Johnson, Wanda Jenkins and Hardy voted for it.

"I'm for anything that will help the students," Jenkins said.

Lambert said the change can be made with no additional cost and no additional staffing. The addition of the eighth period will be done through scheduling changes.

"We're just trying to find something that works," Lambert said. "We're at a point where we've got to do something different to get results."

In other matters, the board heard a report from Rock Hill Athletic Booster President Bob Wilds, who said his organization had a busy year and spent approximately $5,000

to help the district's athletes and athletic events.

The board voted to accept the resignation of Christi Kinder as a teacher and voted to employ Greg Scythes as a teacher for the new school year.

The board also approved a contract with the Lawrence County Educational Service Center which will provide a social worker for the school district for the coming school year.