Monday meeting to discuss four-day school week at Whittell
February 4, 2010
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Since last fall, students at Whittell High School in Zephyr Cove, Nev. have attend school four days a week, instead of the traditional Monday through Friday schedule.
Principal Sue Shannon is hosting a public meeting in the school commons at 6:30 p.m. Monday to invite feedback and answer questions about the new program.
Whittell High is the only school with a Monday through Thursday schedule within the Douglas County School District and its neighboring Lake Tahoe Unified School District. Shannon said the schedule was adopted because students were missing school when traveling up to eight hours by bus to rural Nevada communities for athletics. Now the games are mostly restricted to Friday and weekend play.
“Fall is the best example because it has the most different teams (playing),” Shannon said. “Monday they would be there, Tuesday and Thursday soccer was gone, Wednesday it was volleyball, and Friday was cross country and football.”
Last year, students – 80 percent of whom participated in athletics – missed an average of 35 classes due to sports. This year, Shannon projects that number will shrink to seven or eight.
“That’s the whole reason we did it, to increase seat time,” she said.
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Shannon’s goal for Monday’s meeting is to get input from parents, who approved the new schedule by 80 percent.
Teachers are claiming success, too, reporting that they’re actually ahead with their curriculum.
“So far, it’s amazing how advantageous it is to have all the students in class for all four days,” Shannon said.
The days are longer and students attend classes from 7:39 a.m. to 3:18 p.m. Sports practices are still held after school.
Part of the issue is that Whittell High is part of the Northern 2A League, which includes Pershing County High School in Lovelock, Nev. and Battle Mountain High School in Battle Mountain, Nev., a three hour bus ride and an eight hour bus ride, respectively.
But by next fall, Whittell High could be part of the proposed Mount Rose League, composed of six schools, including all five high schools around Lake Tahoe, including South Tahoe High School, as well as Sparks High School near Reno.
“The (Nevada Interscholastic Athletics Association) has been talking about it for years,” Shannon said.