Op-Ed…New schedule, new math

By George Benack
October 26, 2007
No one should expect that the implementation of a new schedule at Horace Greeley High School will come off without a hitch.

While aggressively embarking on an ambitious plan to alter the schedule at Horace Greeley High School, the administration has tried its best to allow for discussion and the sharing of ideas by providing time for in-school meetings and soliciting individual commentary from all members of the high school staff. They have also met with students and the community to answer questions and dispel any rumors that have arisen since the process of effecting a schedule change began last autumn.

Despite these opportunities, much of the faculty has real concerns about how these changes will affect their program. Many are uncertain of how the proposed schedule change will affect them individually, let alone how it will affect program in other departments. Based on several private conversations with parents on the soccer fields, I suspect the community at large is equally unaware of these concerns.

No one should expect that the implementation of a new schedule at Horace Greeley High School will come off without a hitch. Just as there are people who are thrilled and excited by the prospect of such a change, there are others who approach such a change with trepidation; both groups may be surprised with initial outcomes.

Math department, serious concerns with longer periods

A change in the amount of time a teacher spends with her class on a given day and whether or not that class will meet every day is likely to have a dramatic effect on what content is covered as well as how instruction is delivered. In the math department, many of us have expressed serious concerns that meeting with students for 60 or more consecutive minutes in one day may be unsound in certain math courses. For a multitude of reasons, one cannot simply teach an 80-minute period as if it were two 40-minute classes scheduled back-to-back.

Additionally, there is research suggesting that math courses seem to do best when they meet for shorter periods of time on a daily basis. There is considerable doubt among many math teachers at Greeley that the schedule under consideration will allow us to continue to cover our present curriculum and maintain the integrity of our successful math program. Something will have to give and such a change may require watering down some topics or removing them altogether from our