Algonquin administration considering alternative schedule changes: Faculty voting on preferences

In March, Algonquin’s administration put forward a proposal. The intent was to help deal with students’ sleep deprivation. A proposed schedule to begin in the fall would have started the day with a Flexible Learning Block.

Last night, Superintendent Christine Johnson said the proposal did what it was intended to do: spark conversation and exchanging of ideas. Since then, faculty have been proposing, discussing, and are continuing to vote on several alternative schedules.

Principal Tom Mead told the committee that at one point, about 10 different schedules were flying around.  Now it’s down to 5-6 proposals and is being narrowed down through multiple rounds of voting.*

Due to the busing issues, all proposals work within the current hours, 7:20 am – 1:50 pm.

How (or if) sleep deprivation may be addressed by any of the proposals wasn’t explained. And in the end, keeping the current schedule will also be considered.

As for sleep deprivation, Mead said he and faculty have been discussing other factors contribute including homework.

Johnson previewed that they plan to address the homework policy next year. She believes it has been in place since 1997 and may be time for a change.

Now for some other news from last night’s meeting: 

  • The committee voted in Southborough’s Kathleen Harrigan and Paul Butka as Chair and Vice Chair.
  • A new bus company has been selected. The vendor, based in North Reading, had a lower bid than the bus company used for the past five years. According to Johnson, we’ll still be seeing lots of familiar faces next year as the vendor is recruiting current drivers.
  • The Math Department informed the committee that they will be offering MCAS prep elective courses for freshmen and sophomores.
  • Last week’s cancelled Curriculum Advisory review and forum will take place this afternoon at 3:30 pm. (Here’s the agenda.For more details, see their original communication here.)
  • “School Choice” was unanimously voted down. (Rather than rehashing the issues – for those who want more detail, I send you to a 2013 post. The essential details haven’t really changed. The only difference is that this year even Paul Butka didn’t support it. He claimed the change was for this year only, as Algonquin expands its foreign exchange program.)
  • A petition to hold a Common Core forum was presented by a parent. Since it wasn’t on the meeting agenda, Chair Harrigan claimed public meeting laws prevented them from discussing it. (Stay tuned for more on that later!)

*If you’re looking for more on how faculty are narrowing down proposed schedules, Southborough Wicked Local covered it in more detail.

(Photo by Susan Fitzgerald)

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