Mingus Union High School District Governing Board voted 3-2 Thursday, April 14, to use a traditional six-period day in 2011-12, sticking with a scheduling plan introduced last year that brought objections from many involved with Career Technology Education classes.
Board President James Ledbetter and board members Anita Glazar and Brenda Zenan voted in favor. Board members John Tavasci and Mike Mulcaire voted against.
The switch from a schedule that allowed students to take four, 80-minute blocks each semester to a daily class scheduled comprised of six, 60-minute classes, caused some controversy and was reviewed by the board six times in 2010.
On a four block schedule, students receive eight credits per year. Under the new system, six credits may be earned per year, according to Superintendent Tim Foist.
The present system also means some students must arrive at class by 6:30 a.m. The early schedule probably contributed to a decline in enrollment in the senior agriculture class, among other career technology classes, teacher Heather Mulcaire said during an interview after the initial decision to go to six periods was made.
“We officially registered 196 kids on the national FFA roster last school year. This year our enrollment was down to 160,” Mulcaire said.
The present schedule has required students and teachers to make adjustments but several teachers who spoke at the Thursday, April 14, board meeting said they are committed to making the adjustments necessary to ensure students receive the same quality education they received in previous years.
In 2010, the board voted 3-2 to go to the six-period schedule. At the time, Board Chairman Tavasci and members Ledbetter and Zenan voted in favor. Board members Andy Groseta, who retired in 2010, and Mulcaire voted against.
Foist said the six-period schedule allows MUHS to maintain all of its programs, including music, physical education and art despite a loss of 14 teachers over the past two years.
Foist, who has a record of creating career technology programs at other school districts he administered in the past, said he fully supports the MUHS CTE programs and regrets the schedule change may be having an impact on some CTE enrollment.
“People come here because we have a well-rounded school,” Foist said at the time the issue was first introduced. “People come here for CTE, but they also come here for P.E., music and the arts.”
The schedule change was introduced to preserve all programs, he said.
“We are one of the few, perhaps the only, school district which instead of cutting, actually added programs to the schedule,” Foist said.
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