Traverse City Record-Eagle

December 5, 2013

Quarter scheduling proposed

BY MICHAEL WALTON mwalton@record-eagle.com
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Officials at Traverse City Area Public Schools are practicing their fractions as they play with the district’s high school schedules.

TCAPS’ Board of Education next week will consider ending trimester scheduling in favor of a four-quarter schedule starting in the 2014-15 school year.

“We looked at all of the scheduling options for students,” TCAPS Associate Superintendent Jayne Mohr said. “We felt this one right now offers the most flexibility.”

TCAPS’ high schools adopted trimester schedules in the 2008-09 school year.

Since then, some students in two-trimester courses have not had the same teacher or the same subject in consecutive trimesters, which leads to consistency issues and gaps in instruction, according to a presentation to the board’s Finance Committee on Wednesday. Both TCAPS high schools have seen an increase in students failing classes since the 2009-10 school year.

A quarter system increases the time students spend with one teacher per course and better aligns students’ TCAPS schedules with non-district education programs like Northwestern Michigan College’s dual-enrollment and early college offerings, officials said.

”We’re in thirds; they’re in halves or quarters,” West Senior High School Principal Joe Tibaldi said during the committee meeting. “It then puts gaps in our students’ schedules.”

The move away from trimesters also could save TCAPS between $100,000 and $250,000 a year, depending on how many students choose to enroll in optional zero and seventh periods that are part of the quarter proposal.

”You don’t need as many staff members to do a quarter system,” TCAPS Superintendent Stephen Cousins said.

Cousins said any staff reductions under a quarter system likely would come from retirements, not layoffs.

The school board will meet on Dec. 9 at the district’s administration building.