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Proposal to help teachers denied

Changes might have impacted the schedules of working parents

Posted: April 2, 2009 1:12 a.m.
Updated: April 2, 2009 4:55 a.m.
A proposal to add more minimum days at Placerita Junior High School and alter the class schedule at Saugus High School to give teachers more collaboration time failed after William S. Hart Union High School board members Wednesday questioned the impact the new schedules would have on students and families.

“Many parents just cannot adjust to these minimum days,” board member Paul Strickland said.

Without the special schedules, staff members have to find time before or after school to collaborate on instruction and planning, especially when a school is up for accreditation.

“We need to provide teachers time to do that,” Vicki Engbrecht, assistant superintendent of educational services said.

Wednesday’s proposal would add three minimum days to Placerita Junior High School’s schedule. Staff members argue that the time freed up by the shortened school days allows teachers, administrators and staff to meet together on a regular basis.

At Saugus High School, a minute would be added to every period except Wednesdays.

On Wednesday, a special bell schedule would be implemented so that staff could hold meetings from 7:45 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. The schedule would reduce the number of minimum days during the school year.

The proposals could return to the agenda at a future meeting.

Board members questioned whether shifting schedules and adding more minimum days is worth the benefit to the staff.

Some addressed concerned about the impact on working parents.

“Parents have to take a couple hours off work,” board member Dennis King said.

Board member Patricia Hanrion questioned how effective shortened school days are for student learning.

“It doesn’t seem like we’re going to move forward,” she said.

Golden Valley High School has a similar plan, known as Planning Fridays, in place to meet the needs of staff, said Leslie Littman, president of the Hart District Teachers Association.

“It’s a move that other districts and sites are taking,” Leslie Littman, Hart District Teachers Association president said. “It becomes part of the routine.”

The Hart District Teachers Association approved the schedule changes for the two schools.

During the meeting, the board approved a two-year straight lease of seven portable classroom buildings and one restroom building at
West Ranch High School as the school expects to see an increase in enrollment.  The lease costs the district $155,714.


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