Board considers squeezing more into high school day

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By Damon Lawrence

The school day could include a seventh period for high school students in the future. Currently there are six periods.

The Roane County Board of Education Policy Committee discussed the possible change earlier this month.

“This would only affect Oliver Springs, Harriman, Rockwood and Kingston,” Policy Committee Chairman Wade McCullough said. “They’re on a six period, traditional day.”

Officials said they wouldn’t lengthen the school day to add a seventh period, just shorten the current ones, which Roane County Secondary Schools Supervisor Russell Jenkins said range from 55 to 57 minutes.

“Generally it’s five to seven minutes off the class periods, eight minutes off the class periods to create the additional period,” Jenkins said.

No votes were taken on the issue at the policy meeting, but it is expected to come up again at the next policy board meeting.

“We don’t have that ready to present to the board, but we’d probably like to get the board’s opinion on how they feel about going to a seven-period day in the high schools,” Director of Schools Gary Aytes said.

Jenkins said a state-mandated program called Response to Instruction and Intervention, also known as RTI2, is driving the possible move to a seven-period day.

“In that implementation, once students are tested, they fall into a category and that’s called a tier,” he said. “All students are receiving Tier 1 implementation, which is just good solid teaching in the classroom.”

Jenkins said students who require more will fall into the Tier 2 category.

“ If they fall into Tier 2 criteria, we’ve got to give them, let’s say English 1 for the full class period and then we’ve got to give them 30 more minutes of English,” he said. “Our schedule won’t allow us to do that.”

Students also can fall into a third tier, where they have to have two hours, so they have their regular English class and then they have an additional hour of English until they test out of that, Jenkins said.