Eight-Period Plan Announced for 2016-2017 School Year




Interim Principal Gregory Bargeman announced on Monday that the 2016-2017 school year’s schedule plan will consist of eight periods in total, one period more than the current seven.

In an email to the Wilson staff, Bargeman cited “more opportunities for students to recover failed courses” and “double periods in English and math for academically weak students” as potential benefits of adding an eighth period.

The new schedule, which will begin the year after next, was originally planned to go into affect for the 2015-2016 school year. In an additional email to staff early Wednesday morning, Bargeman announced that “after several discussions with central office” it was decided that the eight-period schedule would be postponed a year.

The new schedule will consist of alternating A and B days, both with four 81-minute periods, in addition to a midday STEP. The current Monday schedule, which features seven periods of 45-minutes, will be eliminated, and instead Mondays will follow the A/B pattern along with the other days of the week. It is unclear whether the current 6-minute window between periods will be changed.

At the moment, Wilson is the only DCPS neighborhood high school that does not use this eight-period A/B schedule. Assimilation with other high schools, which will also simplify the transferring process for students switching schools, is another benefit to the change, according to Bargeman.

Teachers will be required to teach an additional class, and some are wary of the new schedule, as an extra class could mean extra students, and extra papers to grade.

James Leonard, a social studies teacher and Wilson teacher representative in the Washington Teachers’ Union, says that teachers are concerned about the increased workload that could come if they’re required to teach another class of 20 to 30 students.

“Eight periods should reduce the number of students per class,” Leonard says, but if class sizes are not reduced, “the burden [of work] is a little bit more.”

In Wednesday’s follow-up email, Bargeman said planning for the change will begin October 2015 and that “parent, student, and staff communications and meetings” will be involved.