Decorah High School will be introducing a new hybrid class schedule beginning with the 2018-2019 school year. The extended period design is intended to provide improved learning opportunities to better meet the needs of the students.
The recommendation to change to a new schedule format is the result of two and a half years of work from the high school's 8-member Building Leadership Team (BLT). DHS Principal Kim Sheppard explains, "After studying our current school day, the needs of our students, the strengths of our teachers, and a variety of different schedules, a unanimous recommendation was made by the members of the Building Leadership Team to implement a hybrid schedule during the 2018-2019 school year."
The hybrid schedule features extended class time for instruction and also introduces a new concept called Flextime two times per week. According to the BLT, Flextime is designed for students to be able to work with their teachers to receive additional assistance or enrichment as needed during the school day. Students can also use Flextime to prepare for AP exams, attend music lessons, enroll in additional classes, prepare for concerts, and attend ACT prep sessions.
The BLT members feel Flextime is one of the biggest positives of the new hybrid schedule because it lends itself to the needs of Decorah's busy high school students. The team's research found 85 percent of DHS students are involved in activities. In the fall, 36 percent of these students miss a portion of 6th hour and all of 7th hour for travel to after school activities, and in the spring, the number jumps to 40 percent. Since Flextime is scheduled from 2:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays (the most commonly missed afternoons because of activities) these students will not miss as much instructional time.
"This was a teacher-driven process," says Sheppard. "It was not a quick decision. It was based on discussion, research and data collected over the past three school years. I am proud of the work the BLT has done. It's an example of teacher leadership at its finest."
DHS students and incoming 9th graders will be learning more about the hybrid schedule in the coming days at school. An informational meeting for parents is scheduled to take place on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. in the high school auditorium.