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High school schedule change meant to alleviate shortages, learning loss

Posted at 2:44 AM, Mar 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-03 05:57:54-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Lee County School District is making schedule changes for high school students. They say it is an effort to address learning loss and reduce teacher shortage concerns.

"It'll be more focused," parent Liz Lyon said.

The district said this change comes as the district faces a teacher shortage and two years' worth of learning loss. Joanne Catto said her daughter missed out on education during the COVID-19 pandemic when students had to take classes online.

"I don't think she learned what she should've learned if you were face to face," Catto said.

With this schedule change, it's something that Catto said her daughter could benefit from.

"If she was still at home I don't think she would be able to do good testing-wise," Catto said.

"It allows for them not to burn out," Lyon said.

The current schedule is a "4x4" alternating block. This is 8 periods with 4 classes each day for 86 minutes each.

The new schedule is 7 periods each day and the classes last 46 minutes.

Lee County school leaders said by doing this it will mean students get more time in the class for each subject. It means about 15 additional days for each course.

But other parents said they are against it.

"I think it's a lot of classes in one day for it to be efficient. I don't agree with it," parent Louie Rondao said.

Fox 4 reached out to the Teachers Association of Lee County to find out what their thoughts are about the schedule changes.
President for TALC, Kevin Daly, responded in part:

"This loss of planning and additional classes will lead to more of a total workload and less time while under contract to complete it. This will mean that teachers will have to take more work home and complete their work outside of contract hours. This has the potential to increase the pressure and lower the morale of teachers at the high school level in Lee County."
Kevin Daly, President for the Teachers Association of Lee County

Supporters said this will also help the district with its current teacher shortage. The switch means the district will need 140 fewer teachers next school year. Parents are waiting to see how the new schedule works.

"I do believe that it will also keep the teachers fresh. It will allow them to get into the nitty-gritty of the material," Lyon said.

This change starts in August and only impacts its 15 brick-and-mortar traditional high schools.

Fox 4 asked Lee County schools about the 140 fewer teachers next school year and what that means for current employees. We are told that every teacher that wants to stay with Lee County schools will have a job. Superintendent Savage said this was a management decision but he did consult with the school board.

Elective choices still available:

  • IB students can take 1 or 2 electives every year
  • IB and Arts students can earn both diplomas
  • AICE students can take 1 to 3 electives every year
  • No impact on dual enrollment and limited impact to career academies

For teachers:

  • Contract hours not impacted
  • Class size not impacted
  • Engage with students every day
  • Supports continuity of curriculum

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