Board to hear report on class schedule changes for more schools

May 26, 1994|By Lan Nguyen | Lan Nguyen,Sun Staff Writer

Three more Howard County high schools are changing the way they schedule classes next fall to give students the chance to earn more credits for graduation, according to a report to be presented to the county Board of Education today.

Starting this fall, Glenelg, Mount Hebron and Oakland Mills will have four-period days that let students earn a total of seven credits each year. Under that schedule, students will have one class that they attend every day, and six other classes that they will take on a rotating basis throughout the week.

The new schedules are similar to the model at Atholton High School, which dropped its previous six-period day last fall. The new schedules were prompted by state graduation requirements that forced students to take additional health, science and foreign language or advanced technology classes.

"It certainly allows us to meet the graduation requirement and allow for some flexibility in other courses students want to take," Associate Superintendent James McGowan said. "I think that's desirable."

Howard High School last fall switched to a four-period schedule that lets students take four different classes each semester.

Meanwhile, Centennial and Hammond high schools will keep their six-period day, which lets students take a seventh class during lunch. Wilde Lake will keep its flexible scheduling, which lets students take as many as 12 classes a year.

School officials are in the middle of a three-year study on the effect of four-period days on student achievement, such as grade-point averages and test scores. Officials expect an initial report by late summer or early fall, according to Phyllis Utterback, assessment supervisor.

Among other matters scheduled for today's meeting:

* The board is expected to seal the agreement between County Executive Charles I. Ecker and the Howard County Arts Council to build a $1.2 million performing arts center at Wilde Lake High School. County and school officials say the agreement is the first of its kind in the nation that involves business, state and local government and schools working together to build a cultural arts center.

"I think it sets a new tradition for the effectiveness of partnership," said Michael Galeone, arts council president. "This is a unique and national model of what can effectively result."

The 755-seat theater is expected to be completed in two years, when a new Wilde Lake High School opens.

* The board is expected to amend the 1995 fiscal year's capital budget by $1.6 million and the five-year capital budget by $3.2 million, under a compromise between Mr. Ecker and the County Council. A portion of the money is slated for computers for older schools.

The board meets at 4 p.m. today at the Department of Education building on 10910 Route 108 in Ellicott City. There will be no evening session. Call 313-6600 for more information.

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