Dimond to Stay with Six-Period Schedule Next Year

Straight Seven, Seven-Period Block Possibilities for 2015-2016

As of right now, Dimond, along with the other Anchorage School District high schools, will hold on to their current six-period schedule next year, Dimond Principal Cheryl Guyett said.

The possibility of a seven-period day in Anchorage School District high schools still looms as the realization of continuing budget cuts are taken into account.

“The staff will be polled next week” on two seven-period schedules that they think will work best for teaching students, Guyett said.

Guyett said each school, including Dimond, has worked hard to decide which seven-period schedule they like the best.

Dimond has had four meetings and has decided on two possibilities.

Dimond Student Government has looked at the two schedules that came out of the Dimond committee and and has started to examine which would be best for Dimond students.

One of the choices is a straight seven-period day, and the other is a blocking schedule, Guyett said. She personally is in favor of the blocking schedule “because of the flexibility we need to do all kind of teaching” and students possibly wouldn’t have seven-classes worth of homework to take care of every night.

Class sizes will be larger next year because teachers are still having to be displaced.

Currently, class sizes range from 15 to 35 students, and next year they may be 20 to 40 students, Guyett said.

Guyett said Dimond will lose one position from each core subject along with three others positions.

We need to figure out which positions to cut depending on what will hurt students least, which classes the students want to take and which classes the students need for graduation, Guyett said.

At the public early School Board session on Feb. 20, Anchorage School District Superintendent Ed Graff said he was going to recommend that the seven-period day be postponed because there was a difference in opinion about the proposal from one school to another on whether it would be beneficial, Guyett said.

The School Board had asked for a work session with the principals from the eight large high schools, the superintendent, the Chief Academic Officer and the Executive Director of Secondary Schools. This work session took place on Feb. 14 and the purpose was to discuss the benefits and disadvantages that each high school saw with the seven-period schedule, Guyett said.

There was a “great deal of communication from teachers and parents and students on a seven-period day,” Guyett said, “A lot of communication both in favor and opposed.”

On Feb. 20, later the same day as the early board session meeting, but a few days after the work session, the main board meeting took place. There was public testimony and then the the best way to proceed about the seven-period day was discussed, Guyett said.

During the main board meeting is when it was unanimously decided to postpone the implementation of the seven-period day, Guyett said. At the meeting it was also voted to dip deeper into the board’s budget to restore some teacher positions back to do remedial work in the schools that need them.