Mixed reviews for new high school schedule

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - A new high school schedule is getting mixed reviews in the Springfield School District.

District officials said the "four by four scheduling" is in use in over half of Oregon's high schools. The district started on the schedule last fall.

"When you look at a 90 minute block of time, instructionally, that affords more opportunity for our teachers to be working with kids in a problem based, project based context," said Matt Coleman, assistant superintendent of Springfield schools.

Coleman said holding class in specific subjects every other day with a longer period of time not only prepares kids for college schedules but also gives kids more classroom time in which to learn.

High school teachers in Springfield took a survey of their progress under the new schedule, and Coleman said they aren't exactly where they'd like to be.

"Part of the biggest issue is the impact on the amount of material that can be covered and potentially learned by kids," he said. "I think that was one of the most over-arching concerns that were expressed."

Coleman said about 60 percent of high school teachers were surveyed, and about 80 percent of those said learning the material was harder for kids.

When it came to homework completion, half of the teachers surveyed said homework wasn't being completed.

But students seem to enjoy the new schedule.

"It helps me stay more focussed and there's just more things to do," said Robert Matthews. "If you get done with all your stuff you have more time to do other class homework."

"I honestly like it so much beter than regular," Kayelei Lange said, "only because I get to learn more and get my homework done."

"Homework's been about the same," said Michael Funderburk. "It's just that I'm not retaining as much information."

Coleman said they expected issues to come up in the first year.

"We knew with any kind of change we're going to see the pros and cons," he said, "and we need to figure out how to work with the issues that our teachers are seeing."