MCS considers block scheduling - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

MCS considers block scheduling

By Jamel Major - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Officials with Memphis City Schools are considering a major change to the way your child is educated.  The move means students may attend that same class, for a longer period of time.

Tamekia Boyd is pleased with the Memphis City Schools district-wide policy on block scheduling for middle and high shool students.

"I think it's going to be beneficial in that they're increasing the time to enhance the educational learning for students," she said.

Boyd's daughter Chasity Maclin will be a senior at Cordova High in fall.  She says her biggest concern is longer classes.

"We like to have breaks so it's going to be a problem," Maclin said.

The district's plan is to take a 55 minute course and stretch it to 90 minutes, but hold that class on fewer days.

Irving Hamer, Deputy Superintendent with Memphis City Schools, stated "It allows us to have a common instructional period that allows children to get more engaged instructional time." 

Stephanie Fitzgerald, an educator with over 35 years experience agrees, but also says block scheduling may be challenging for some teachers.

"There is a downside that the total number of students you teach increases.  Your class size doesn't change but you pick up one extra class," she said. 

District officials say the policy is in response to an effort to help deal with a high mobility rate.  In Memphis, one in 3 students changes schools at least once a year.

"If I move from one school to another it takes about 3 months to get acclamated.  The loss of instructional time puts me behind," Hamer said.. 

But by raising the bar, officials hope the new block scheduling will ensure teachers are providing students like Chasity Maclin with access to the same education no matter which school they attend.

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