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Is the 7 period day really worth the cost?

Original post made by Anita, Amador Valley High School, on Mar 17, 2011

I don't think so. Students feel more pressure to take 7 periods, competition among students is just getting worse, and the district should not even contemplate the cost right now. It isn't necessary.

Comments (14)

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2011 at 11:46 pm

7 period is nice, and I wish we could have it back, but I would like to know where the money will come from.

Right now, they are saying we will see cuts to programs and that will happen even if measure E were to pass.

So where is the money (about 440K) to restore the 7 period will come from?

(again, I am all for the 7 period but I would need to know what will be cut in order to restore it before I can say whether it is a good idea to bring it back or not)

btw, I do not agree that the 7 period is "not necessary" - many students benefit from having a 7 period. The music program in HS will eventually die because students will not compromise their required classes in order to take music


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Posted by Marilyn Palowitch
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 18, 2011 at 10:34 am

There is a 7-Period Day solution that will cost nothing and has been presented to the School Board (Feb. 22, 2011 School Board Meeting, Web Link ).

The $450Ką price tag is for Collaboration – the 2-hour Wednesday morning period when students stayed home and administration/faculty collaborated on site. Without those 2 hours of instructional time, a comprehensive 7-Period day is necessary to fulfill state-mandated instructional minutes. Therefore, Collaboration requires 7 Periods, and with a comprehensive 7-period day implementation, Collaboration carries the $450Ką price tag. (Collaboration was cut in 2010-11 with an agreement that expires in June 2011. It is too early to tell whether or not Collaboration will return for 2011-12.)

It is very important to understand – 7 Periods DOES NOT require Collaboration. If Collaboration does not return, it is possible to offer a modified 7-period structure AT NO COST for most if not all of the approximately 20% of the students who have requested 7 periods.

The Superintendent, Trustees and Cabinet were presented with this solution, which requires the cooperation of the administration and faculty, to create a staggered-start schedule, with strategic placement of some sections to ease scheduling conflicts. Administration at both schools have seen the idea and agree it would work. Chris Grant called it a "no brainer" and all of the other trustees responded favorably as well.

This implementation requires no new sections over the number offered this year in a 6-period day. It simply allows for seats that are empty today to be filled by eager students; it allows for the enrollments in the performing and visual arts to be restored so these programs can continue to thrive; it allows for AVID students to continue in AVID while fulfilling college admission requirements; and it helps students who need one more class to graduate to actually take it. This implementation is efficient, cost-effective, and is simply the right thing to do for our students.


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Posted by How can music die?
a resident of Avignon
on Mar 18, 2011 at 10:47 am

I'm confused. How will music die? 7th period was added a few years ago and the music program was fine. What has changed?


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Posted by Marilyn Palowitch
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 18, 2011 at 11:08 am

To "How can music die?" - I understand the thinking that the 7 period day is relatively new, but it is not. Some version of a 7 period day offering has been around for decades to support the impacted schedule of students in music and some other programs. What was "added a few years ago" was Collaboration, which required a more costly, comprehensive 7-day period (i.e. available for any and all students who so choose).

When Collaboration was cut last year, instead of returning to a modified 7-period day to support impacted programs, the entire 7 period offering was removed. For the first time in decades the music program did not have the scheduling support needed to maintain enrollment.

What is the effect of a 6 period day on music? The erosion has already started. For example, in one year, the enrollment in Orchestra at both high schools fell off by 50%, since many students (primarily Freshman and Sophomores) cannot fit Orchestra in a 6-period day - along with the requirement of PE and the academic core. In one or two more years, if a 6-period day were to continue, there will fewer and fewer students coming up in Orchestra, and eventually there will be no more Orchestra.


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Posted by Manson
a resident of Castlewood
on Mar 18, 2011 at 11:20 am

Marilyn,

What "empty seats" are you talking about? Class sizes have increased due to budget cuts, and allowing students to take an extra course requires extra sections to accommodate them.

More sections = more $

I'm not saying that playing the xylophone or trombone is not important, but these sections DO cost $


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Posted by Marilyn Palowitch
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 18, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Manson -

Consider currently existing music sections have lots of room to absorb more students. Often the music faculty teach 30-60 or more students per section and not all are at their capacity. (These high numbers are necessary for full ensemble experiences, and result in a very efficient ratio and use of classroom instructor.)

Most of the available seats existing today are in elective classes – music, other performing arts, visual arts, ROP, AVID and advanced academics. Enrollment was sufficient to maintain these sections, but they are not all full. And in the case of music, full is a very high number.

If there is a seat open in an existing section, don't you think we should exercise a no-cost strategy to fill it with an eager student?

While the solution offered to the School Board may not be able to accommodate every request for a 7-period day, it will be able to accommodate most, with the sections currently available.

For a detailed explanation of the solution, with examples, please watch the Feb. 22 School Board meeting presentation. There is also excellent coverage in the PW, the Patch and the Independent.


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Posted by Manson
a resident of Castlewood
on Mar 18, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Marilyn,

Which students should get the opportunity to take extra classes and which should not get equal access?


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Posted by Marilyn Palowitch
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 18, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Manson - Decisions of "who gets what" are made all the time by our administration (and not to everyone's satisfaction, but they do their best) and I look to them for an effective implementation that is considerate of all concerned. Challenging? Yes, but it is possible to set a schedule and priorities that are reasonable, logical and opportunistic for the most students instead of letting classroom seats go to waste.


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Posted by Manson
a resident of Castlewood
on Mar 18, 2011 at 1:18 pm

The law requires all students to have equal access to educational opportunities. Allowing some students to take more classes while others are denied is beyond the purview of the administration. If the opportunity to take a 7th class cannot be extended to all students, it would be a serious legal issue. Like you, I lament the loss of this opportunity, but I see why that decision has to be made in the current economic situation.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 18, 2011 at 8:35 pm

Manson, why is it a serious legal issue when it was perfectly OK up until a few years ago? I don't have kids in high school, just curious why you think this?

And does this mean that there will be serious legal issue for denying summer school in elementary for everyone except English learners (or some small group, forget which one, is still allowed to take it?).

I know that 7th period is important to people and I thought the no cost option was creative, compelling as presented and well worth considering.


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Posted by Manson
a resident of Avignon
on Mar 18, 2011 at 10:48 pm

Parent,

It wasn't okay a few years ago. Two years ago or whatever, any student could take a seventh period if they wanted to; now it's no longer economically realistic. It's one thing to offer everyone the choice of 7 periods and another to only offer it to a few. There have been a host of laws and court decisions over the years on this kind of point. You might want to read up on some of the federal education acts from the early 70s and work your way forward from there.


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Posted by optimistic mom
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 19, 2011 at 8:07 am

Provided that any student who wants to can take PE or band during 7th period, I think the equal opportunity requirement is met.


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Posted by Manson
a resident of Avignon
on Mar 19, 2011 at 9:06 am

Since the question has been answered, I'm moving on. Carry on with the wishful thinking if you must.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 19, 2011 at 7:26 pm

"Provided that any student who wants to can take PE or band during 7th period, I think the equal opportunity requirement is met"

Wrong! What about students who want to take another elective like science or government? Before the suspension of the 7 period, they were able to.

They need to restore 7 period the way it was prior to the suspension of it, or not restore it at all. For music, they could make that a before or after school period, that would meet the equal opportunity requirement. ie, do not schedule orchestra or band for say 4 or 5 period, schedule it for before school starts or after school ends


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