Schools may move to block scheduling

COVINGTON - The Newton County School System is making a move that likely will put every county high school on the same schedule.

NCSS Superintendent Steven Whatley is recommending that the Newton County Board of Education approve block scheduling at Alcovy and Newton high schools and Sharp Learning Center starting next school year; Eastside High School already operates under a block schedule.

"We need on a variety of levels for all of our high schools to be under one schedule," said Linda

Hayden, associate superintendent for instruction.

Previously, Alcovy, Newton and Sharp have operated under a six-period day schedule. Under a block schedule, students will take four extended classes per day. Courses are completed at the end of each 18-week semester. For example, students will start four courses in August and take final exams in December before Holiday Break and start a new set of four courses in January after the break to continue until the end of the school year in May.

Hayden and Whatley said this scheduling change will not require any additional costs - they will use existing staff and buildings.

After much research and discussion in the past, they said block scheduling would allow students more options for work-based learning and post-secondary dual enrollment and also give students the opportunity to attempt eight classes per school year, instead of six.

"It allows a lot more flexibility," Hayden said. "We certainly want kids to stay on track (to graduate)."

Hayden said if approved, NCSS officials will set up professional learning for untrained employees for the rest of this school year and into the summer in order to be ready for the new school year.

The board will vote on the recommendation at its regular session meeting, scheduled to begin at

7 p.m. tonight, in the Newton BOE building, which is located at 2109 Newton Drive N.E. in Covington.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.

SideBar: If You Go

· What: Newton County Board of Education meeting

· When: 7 p.m. today

· Where: Newton BOE building, 2109 Newton Drive N.E., Covington

· More Information: www.newtoncountyschools.org