The extra time for extra help

Eduardo Calderon|Staff Writer

Next year brings another set of changes to Johnson High School, with the possibility of a nine period schedule.

“The nine period day provides time for an enrichment period,” principal John Mehlbrech said, “Kids have the choice to what to participate in.”

The nine period needs a few final steps for it to be in effect for next year.

“This is not approved yet, I’ll meet with the Campus Improvement Committee for final approval,” Mehlbrech said, “If it’s approved we’ll spend the rest of the year and summer planning.”

The new schedule will provide help to struggling students.

“[One of the] main reasons is to [provide] opportunities of remediation for those that need it,” Mehlbrech said.

An extra period can provide preperation for some important testing.

“There will be preps for testing for the EOCs, TAKs, PSATs, or SATs,” Mehlbrech said.

The school recognized the extra period needed for busy students.

“This may help kid’s involved in extracurriculars, it’s hard to get work done before or after school,” Mehlbrech said.

The extra time may help students eliminate homework so there is none when they go home.

“[The nine period day] sounds good, you wouldn’t have to do as much homework when we go home where we’re distracted,” freshmen Daniel Farriss said.

Although being another period, the extra class will not count like other classes.

“It would be helpful, this period is not for a grade, it is twice a week, while the other three days are the same schedule,” Mehlbrech said, “The days are not set.” (The two nine period days will have the eight 45 minute classes, with the ninth period being 40 minutes.)

This extra period is geared more to studying than extracurriculars.

“This is an academic period, not for athletics or the fine arts,” Mehlbrech said, “It gives students the ability to take a study hall.”

Besides big testing like the EOCs or PSATs, the extra period can help students in any advanced placement class.

A 9th period may be added to the schedule next year, as a remediation class/enhancement course.

“There could be a Calculus AP prep, an AP US exam prep, or an AP government review,” Mehlbrech said, “Any AP course can have it’s own prep time.”

Besides preparing students for major exams, the extra period can allow kids to learn new hobbies that would not be found in a regular classroom.

“The extra time can be used for a creative writing course, a book club, a chess club, poetry, Model UN, history through the movies, for seniors, the time can be used for college applications,” Mehlbrech said, “There’s a bunch of stuff we’re looking at.”

Some students will use the extra class in activities that they may not have time for.

“I would like that [the nine period day], it gives extra time to study, practice on things that we usually don’t have time for,” junior Brian Miller said.

Some students are not looking forward to the new schedule.

“I wouldn’t mind the ninth period, except for the fact that I have to attend one extra class,” junior Josh Gilbert.

The new schedule can bring more work to teachers and students, but there will be no reason to not have your work.

“I think the workload will be increased,” english teacher Gwen Perez said, “There will be no excuse for not turning in homework, we’re building time for you in the day to accomplish more.”

Since there is a variety of courses to choose from, a student does not have to stick with that same class the whole year for the ninth period.

“Students can move, if a student signs up for the PSAT prep then they can switch to an AP prep, cause the PSAT is usually in the fall, and AP exams are in the spring,” Mehlbrech said, “Students [won’t be able to choose the course] if they fail the EOC, they will be placed in a remediation course.”

The extra class will have every student no matter the grade level sitting in a desk.

“During the ninth period enrichment class, everyone will be in a room somewhere, the class size will vary on the course,” Mehlbrech said, “Remediation courses will try to be no bigger than 25 students with at least 2 teachers.”

The only challenge may be starting the whole schedule at the beginning.

“There’s a lot of organization to make it run, we will adjust as we go,” Mehlbrech said.

Johnson is leading the way with this new schedule.

“No other school in NorthEast is doing it, we anticipate especially with the EOC that other schools will take a look at the schedule,” Mehlbrech said, “We look at ourselves as very proactive, we head off potential problems, instead of waiting and then having to catch up.”


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