New FHS may get a new class scheduleFarmington students could have more than a new building to get used to when the new Farmington High School opens in the fall of 2009. School board members got their first look Monday at a proposed new class schedule.
By: Nathan Hansen, The Farmington Independent
Farmington students could have more than a new building to get used to when the new Farmington High School opens in the fall of 2009. School board members got their first look Monday at a proposed new class schedule.
The proposed schedule, developed over the past year by a group of FHS teachers and administrators, would feature five class periods with an optional zero hour held before the start of the regular school day. The schedule would also move the high school from two semesters to three trimesters.
There are still plenty of details to work out — committee members who presented the plan Monday said they still have more questions than answers — but FHS math teacher Jason Berg said teachers at the school are excited about the possibilities the new schedule creates.
“We feel this has the potential to be a real positive in our building,” Berg said.
The road to Monday’s presentation began with the idea that the small learning communities designed for Farmington’s new high school might not be ideal for the seven-period schedule in use at the current building. Teachers and administrators wondered if there might be a better way to move students through the building every day.
A committee formed by the district to study new schedules toured schools around the Twin Cities. They looked at the schedules in place and found out who liked the way things were set up and who wanted to make changes. The group picked out the best pieces of the schedules it saw.
The result is five 64-minute class periods, up from the 47-minute length of current classes. The pre-school zero hour would be available to students who want to take advantage of extra opportunities or perhaps to students who need help catching up.
Berg said the proposed schedule would allow students to take more classes — five each trimester for a total of 15 rather than seven each semester for a total of 14 — and even more — 18 in all — if they take advantage of the zero hour.
“I think our committee felt very strongly the zero hour was an essential component,” Berg said. “It allows kids more options to find things that they enjoy. For some kids it might be some classes they need to take that they can’t find during the regular day.
“Most kids, if they choose, could get what they need out of Farmington High School in hours one through five.”
Lakeville High School currently uses a zero hour and Berg said more than half of the students who are eligible take advantage of the early morning class.
The proposed schedule is still far from complete. There are still questions about who would be eligible for the zero hour — just juniors and seniors or students from all grade levels? — how transportation would be handled and when the school day would start. But school board members seemed mostly happy with what they’ve seen so far.
The committee will bring the plan back to board members in September and make a final recommendation in October. Superintendent Brad Meeks said there will be opportunities along the way for district residents to have input.