Next fall when students return to Ogdensburg Free Academy they will have eight classes per day instead of the nine.
The biggest reason is because of the common core, said High School Principal Cynthia L. Tuttle. The curriculum is going to be deeper and more rigorous. Any seminar or workshop we attended had presenters who said the common core was going to require more than 38 minute periods.
To accommodate the change without altering the length or the school day, students first period classes will serve as their homeroom starting next year. Mrs. Tuttle said that change gave the district an additional four minutes, enough time to lengthen the periods from 38 to 45 minutes.
This is a win-win for everybody, especially the students, who will be better prepared for their tests and the teachers who will have more time to teach the curriculum, she said.
When presenting the proposal to the board of education at it most recent meeting, Mrs. Tuttle did address a few concerns that had been raised about the plan.
Since Ive been here there has always been concerns about students having too many study halls, she said countering the concern that students may not have enough periods in the day for a study hall.
Most students should have the opportunity to have a study hall, she said, adding students will be required to take six classes per day.
If they just do the minimum they could have two, she said.
Mrs. Tuttle said students who want study halls find ways to get study halls, while other students avoid study at all costs.
It doesnt matter if there is seven periods in the day or twelve, some students will fill up their schedule, she said.
The reduction of one class period per day also led to the reduction of a planning period for teachers in the high school, who will now have only one planning periods instead of two, she said, adding teachers at the elementary level only receive one planning period each day.
Under the new proposal, which will be implemented with the start of the new school year, the day will still begin at 7:51 a.m. It will end five minutes later at 2:53 p.m.
The tighter schedule may also lead to some scheduling conflicts, but Mrs. Tuttle said even with a nine period day, scheduling conflicts are inevitable.
Its never going to be perfect, she said. The students needs are always met and their wants are almost always met.
Mrs. Tuttle also noted that this is not the first time OFA will be operating with an eight period day, noting the switch to a nine period day was made prior to the 2001-2002 school year.