School district to re-evaluate 4-by-4 schedule |

School district to re-evaluate 4-by-4 schedule

Sara Thompson
Becca Kushner, Senior: "I really like it. It's meant for the majority (students). If I don't load up on AP classes, it's fine."

The 4-by-4 schedule works for some high school students and not others, and that has prompted the Lake Tahoe Unified School District to re-examine the issue.

The district will decide whether to continue the schedule for next school year at its Jan. 9 board meeting.

The schedule consists of eight classes in the year, with four blocks every day.

At the district meeting last week, South Tahoe High School Principal Ivone Larson presented data collected from last school year, which was the first year of the 4-by-4 schedule.

“The schedule alone does not make a serious change in how the students were doing,” Larson said during a recent meeting.

Teachers and students recently evaluated the schedule through a survey in English and Spanish. Seventy-six percent of the students surveyed indicated the schedule works for them; 64 percent said they’d like to continue it next year. Fifty-four percent of students said their grades improved using the 4-by-4 schedule.

STHS sophomore Kevin Shirley said he likes 4-by-4 because he learns more and would like it next year.

Senior Bryan Garcia said his grades have improved with the schedule; he earned straight A’s the last grade period. The schedule works well for him because he participates in sports, he explained. If he’s absent because of a game, he can make up the work more easily since he sees the same teachers every day.

Another appealing feature of the schedule, students say, is that it allows them to take four classes in the first semester and four new classes in the second semester.

“You don’t have to wait all year to take a new class,” said senior Mikey Caro. “You get whole new classes at the second half. It’s refreshing.”

But not all students enjoy the schedule.

“I don’t like it, because the classes are shorter,” said senior Karina Morales. She said she liked the previous schedule better.

High school staff, though, also seem to like 4-by-4. From a survey, 76.5 percent of the staff said they’d like to keep the schedule for another year.

At last week’s district meeting, board member Larry Green asked if there were plans to remedy gaps for math and foreign languages. With the current schedule, students may have to wait a semester up to a year between their first and second math and language classes.

Larson said the district is working on an intermediate algebra class and an advanced algebra class. These will link so students can take math year-round for college entrance purposes.

Advanced Placement test scores also concern some students. For most colleges, students must score at least a 3 in the advanced classes to receive college credit. The scoring system ranges from 1 to 5.

Of the seniors taking Advanced Placement tests last year, 42 percent passed with a 3 or higher, though 70 percent passed in the prior school year.

But juniors and seniors did better: Thirty-seven percent of them in 2005-06; 50 percent passed this last year using the new schedule.

Those interested in the 4-by-4 schedule for next school year are encouraged to attend the Lake Tahoe Unified School District Board of Trustees meeting at 6 p.m. Jan. 8 in the district office boardroom at 1021 Al Tahoe Blvd.

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