PS considering weighted classes, block scheduling

By Kelsey Kimbler -

CAMDEN — During a Preble Shawnee Board of Education meeting on Thursday, July 13, Superintendent Matt Bishop had some answers for the board — answers to questions they’ve been asking for months.

Board member Emily Hamblin, specifically, has been interested in learning what changes they could make to the high school curriculum to help the students academically.

Her main concerns? Block scheduling and weighted classes. Bishop provided some answers for those questions during his superintendent’s report.

According to Bishop, the high school principal brought up block scheduling during the school year and there was a 50/50 split on support. Staff has been looking at what block scheduling would take staff wise, and is estimating a need for three to four additional teachers.

“Knowing that, and the uncertainty of whether the levy passes and if we’re going to have to use our general fund dollars for repairs or other things, it would be tough to start that now,” Bishop said. “I think we’ll know more in November, regarding what sort of options we have, but that’s why we’ve put the brakes on block scheduling.”

Moving onto weighted classes, Bishop said there are a few schools in the county who utilize that sort of structure. He added, “The thinking is that if you’re taking advance classes, like honors classes, or calculus and pre-calculus, you should be rewarded or get something for that other than the same grade someone who is on the regular track is getting. I think that would be something that we are interested in moving towards, but anytime we add something like that it has to happen at the freshman level and have all of the students under the old system go through and then add it to the new class that is coming in.”

Bishop also brought up the curriculum model. He said that they need to look at the standards and see if there are any “gaps.”

“We can look closely at the classes we are offering on the honors track,” he explained. “We need to determine the rigors there. We need to make sure that the person who is taking honors English and the person who is taking regular English are truly getting a different experience. When they are getting a different experience, then they get a reward. Right now if you pass English 9, you get four points for your GPA, if you get an add on, then those tenths and hundredths add up and you’re going to have valedictorians with 4.2 and 4.3 GPAs.

“My recommendation would be to take a look at that and make a formal presentation to the board in time for scheduling next year,” he said.

By Kelsey Kimbler

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH