Schools to quit block format

Wilson County Schools will change to a seven-period schedule from the current block format in 2014.
Dec 7, 2013

Wilson County Schools will change to a seven-period schedule from the current block format in 2014.

Many parents voiced concerns with this change at a forum held at Mt. Juliet High School last month. 

One such question raised was the following: “Is my daughter part of an experiment (seven credit)? What if this fails?” The answer given on the website was “less than 10 percent of the high schools in the state of Tennessee operate on a block schedule. The highest performing schools operate on a traditional full-year course equals one credit type schedule.”

Another asked “How is the district planning to increase the number of students taking [Advanced Placement] classes?”

“The schedule changes will allow more students the flexibility to enroll in AP classes. Changes in GPA weighting will reduce risks for top performing students. Currently students who enroll in AP classes often have to take AP courses for two credits which limits their choices to take additional AP,” read the response.

To help facilitate the change, the Wilson County Board of Education took a first step by voting at its Monday meeting to change the graduation requirements for students.

Currently in the county, students need 28 credits to graduate, but Director of Schools Tim Setterlund said, “Over four years, we will phase to the state requirement of 22 credits.”

This process includes several steps, beginning with a complete rewrite of the course catalog.

“We are completely rewriting the course catalog and changing the number of credits some courses take up,” he said. And following the Christmas break, the system will have some professional development courses for teachers.

“We will be helping with strategies that help them divide [coursework] into half what they would normally do in order to adjust to the 45-minute periods, teaching half on one day and the other half the next day. We are also asking them not to give excessive amounts of homework for each class since students will be taking on more courses,” said Setterlund.

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