The Merrill Area Public Schools Board of Education will discuss modifications to the master schedule at Merrill High School during its regular meeting Wednesday night.
In a report to the board, MHS Principal Shannon Murray stated this changes would be made “to support a model that is more structured, eliminates course conflicts, and provides for more accurate attendance tracking and efficient student management.”
The flexible modular schedule was implemented at MHS in 2009. The maintenance of that scheduling has been made more difficult with declining enrollment, budget reductions and reduced staffing levels, Murray noted.
“The administration at MHS, Central Office and the MAPS Board of Education have decided to make significant changes to the flex mod schedule beginning in the fall of 2017,” Murray stated. “The schedule changes will address attendance tracking issues and errors, eliminate course conflicts and serve as a way to address other issues related to the flex mod scheduling model.
“At the same time, the administration at MHS is determined to provide a scheduling model that keeps as many of the benefits found in the flex mod schedule as possible including student access to teachers, teacher collaboration time, a guaranteed and viable curriculum, and opportunities for interventions, acceleration and personalized learning built into the school schedule.”
Students, staff and parents were asked to provide their perceptions of the flex mod schedule in 2012-13.
Among students, 25% agreed it provides variety through the day/week; 25% agreed it grants access to teachers; 20% considered it improved the homework completed during the day and 17% thought another advantage is to be able to get the classes they want. As disadvantages students noted making up missed material (23%); staying organized (16%); class conflicts (12%) and lunch conflicts (11%).
Parents pointed out homework completed during the day (54%), access to teachers (32%) and taking more classes (28%) as the advantages the flex mod currently offers. Disadvantages most pointed out by parents were lunch conflicts (63%), class conflicts (62%) and having different teachers per class (56%).
Teachers considered team teaching collaboration (61%), increased student responsibility (60%), variety through the day/week (55%) and access to teachers (52%) to be the best flex mod advantages.
hallenges pointed out were difficulty in getting to know students (60%), course conflicts (55%), attendance tracking (52%) and student resource and time management (39%).
A proposed new seven-period day features significant enhancements over the schedule implemented at the high school prior to flex mod. Advisory/Flex periods are built into Tuesdays and Fridays. That time would be used for interventions, acceleration and personalized learning. Wednesday’s advisory would be extended to accommodate district ACP initiatives.
The move back to a traditional seven-period schedule would also bring with it some limitations. Students would be limited to seven classes at a time, meaning the biggest impact would be felt in the areas of school-to-career programs and elective areas, since they would have to choose between classes if they happen to meet at the same time.