School board to debate new bell schedules at two sites

Foothill, Harvest Park staff hope to reduce student stress through access period

The Pleasanton school board is set to consider approving pilot proposals for new bell schedules at two district schools Tuesday night.

Foothill High School and Harvest Park Middle School are both looking into adopting new schedules that staff say will help meet the academic and social/emotional needs of all students.

If approved, both schedules would be implemented in the 2018-19 school year as pilot programs subject to evaluation and review.

At Harvest Park, the new schedule would add a 30-minute "FLEX period" after third period on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Teachers would spend the period collaborating on Response to Intervention (RTI) methods, and students would participate in offerings like study hall, counseling groups, silent reading or math games, according to staff.

To account for the time of the new period, other classes those days would be reduced by three minutes, and eight minutes would come out of passing periods to lunch and Harvest Park TV time (a daily broadcast by the media class).

Teachers, parents and students were all surveyed on this potential new bell schedule, with all groups expressing support for the change: of the 41 parent/guardian responses received, 82.9% were in favor; of the 387 students surveyed, 68% said the FLEX period would be helpful; and 74% of the 50 teachers surveyed approved of the period.

The adjustment is expected to cost $5,000-6,000, coming from site discretionary funds.

Similarly, the proposed schedule at Foothill would also include an additional period on Tuesdays and Thursdays, or a "Falcon Flex period." In addition, the schedule would implement a late start on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with slightly shortened class periods to accommodate the Falcon Flex period.

The primary intent for Foothill's new schedule is to address student stress. Staff hopes that during the flex period, students will use the extra time to review content for a class, gain additional support for difficult material, reach out for mental health support and at some point engage in additional enrichment opportunities.

They pointed to other comparable schools that had already implemented an access period, including Amador Valley High School, and, in nearby Dougherty Valley and San Ramon Valley high schools.

In the Foothill survey, 81% of the 100 staff respondents said they supported implementing the access period, as did 77.4% of the 319 parents who responded and 79.6% of the 397 students who participated.

The new schedule is estimated to cost $20,000 out of site discretionary funds and PTSA support.

The board's open-session meeting will be held in the district office boardroom at 4665 Bernal Ave. at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

In other business

* During a closed session before the open meeting, the board will consider appointing an interim director of special education and perform an evaluation of Superintendent David Haglund.

Also in closed session, trustees will confer with assistant superintendent of human resources Julio Hernandez on negotiations with the Association of Pleasanton Teachers and the California School Employees Association.

* The board will consider approving three resolutions designating upcoming weeks as Administrative Professionals Week, Teacher Appreciation Week and Classified Employee Week, respectively.

* Board members will consider approving the 2018-20 Single Plan for Student Achievement for all school sites.

* The board will consider approving a declaration of need for fully qualified educators, an annual requirement for any district that may need to issue any emergency teaching permit.

* Trustees will consider approving the new job description for project manager of the construction and facilities department.

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3 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Foothill Farms
on Apr 16, 2018 at 8:29 pm

I am a Foothill parent. Did I miss a questionnaire/survey or meeting that was held outside of the work day to discuss changing the schedule?

1 person likes this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 16, 2018 at 9:28 pm

You want it - fine, extend the day if it's that important to social needs....give me a break.

Should not come at the cost of instructor led time

5 people like this
Posted by PMS parent
a resident of Mission Park
on Apr 17, 2018 at 7:41 am

Foothill parent to answer your question, two parent meetings were held ; one during the eve after work hours and one early morning. Additionally all parents were sent an online survey to complete about the proposed schedule change. My kids also talked to me about this topic.

3 people like this
Posted by MeToo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 17, 2018 at 9:38 am

And Pleasanton Parent is the exact example of why education will never change. There are far too many people who have the mentality of "why changed, it worked for me"

5 people like this
Posted by Alsoapp
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 17, 2018 at 10:17 am

MeeToo, you might say that the attirtude of Pleasanton Parent is why education will never change, but PleasantonParent is not standing in the way of progress. The problem is Common Core, and the CTA. These two are the antithesis of progress.

6 people like this
Posted by Heidi M
a resident of Mission Park
on Apr 18, 2018 at 10:16 am

For those parents who were concerned about this change, I was surprised that no one else attending last nights meeting where this new schedule was approved. If you are concerned about your child's education, you need to speak up somewhere other than on a chat board.

7 people like this
Posted by Spudly
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Apr 18, 2018 at 1:13 pm

Heidi nails it. To all the complainers that weren't notified, grow up. Take responsibility and read the school newsletter that had multiple notices about these changes plus a survey.

5 people like this
Posted by Amador Parent
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 18, 2018 at 1:26 pm

We have the new bell schedule at Amador and it's great! My daughter has been able to us the time built into her day to collaborate w other students, meet with teachers, get homework done or catch up! She's a student athlete and the extra time has been so helpful. Not many kids have time after school to meet with peers or teachers.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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