Middle school principal asks for schedule change

School leader asks to switch to seven-period school day instead of block schedule in January

Students at Jenkins Middle School could be starting their day 15 minutes earlier after Christmas break if the Putnam County School District board approves the changes.

According to a Dec. 13 letter to Superintendent Rick Surrency, Jenkins Principal Randy Hedstrom requested the school day begin 15 minutes earlier to accommodate a seven-period school day rather than the block schedule currently implemented at the school. 

“In order to provide our students with enough quality educational time we are asking to extend the school day,” Hedstrom said. “We would like for this new schedule to begin Jan. 9, 2017. … This extra time will allow us to continue a quality learning experience for our students here at Jenkins Middle School.”

Hedstrom was not available for comment Thursday. 

Laura France, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said Hedstrom met with the school’s faculty and secured a majority vote in favor of the change before the request was made. 

“If the school board approves this request, they will be able to move forward quickly,” France said. 

According to France, the seven-period school day could help students improve in subjects because they will have each class every day. With a block schedule, students have longer class times but meet every other day. 

France said the additional 15 minutes would accommodate state requirements for class time for schools with seven-period school days. 

The additional 15 minutes would be implemented in the morning, she said, because it wouldn’t disrupt current bus schedules. 

“The students who arrive by bus are already arriving at school by that time,” she said. “It will only affect transportation for parents who are dropping off in the mornings and walkers.”

If the school board approves the change Tuesday, France said, Hedstrom plans to notify parents.

The Putnam County School District board will also consider Tuesday the 2017-2018 district schedule, with the school year beginning Aug. 10. 

The board meets at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at 200 Reid St. in Palatka.

Palatka Daily News

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