Changes at AHS: School days will be Red, White and Andy

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 13, 2016


When the 2016-17 school year starts, Andalusia High School students will find that their schedules are different than in previous years.

AHS is transitioning from block scheduling to an alternative block schedule.

0713-Alternative-Block-Quick-GuideIn the block scheduling used in recent years, students had four classes first semester, and four different classes second semester. Principal Dr. Daniel Shakespeare said that sometimes created a learning gap in math. Conceivably, a student could go a whole year between math classes.

In the new plan, which will be implemented next month, Students will have eight blocks or periods, plus “Bulldog time” in the middle of the day.

On Mondays, they will spend 48 minutes in each class, and there will be no “Bulldog time,” currently known as e-block.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, known as red days, they will spend 87 minutes each in first, third, fifth and seventh block classes. On Wednesdays and Fridays, known as white days, they will spend 87 minutes each in second, fourth, sixth and eighth blocks, with “Bulldog time,” on both red and white days.

AHS counselor Olivia Ennis said math teachers have long argued for the change, but test scores underscored the need to address the issue.

When looking at ACT scores – which every student now takes – AHS was at the state average for composite scores. However, the school’s subtest scores were lowest in math.

“Of course, we want to look at multiple forms of data,” Ennis said. “When we look at the percentage of courses failed at AHS, math is always significantly higher.”

Shakespeare said that three-quarters of the students enrolled in summer school are there for math.

Another advantage for the alternative block schedule is that students can earn half-credits, and it makes transferring to and from the school easier.

Ennis, who has just moved to AHS, said that she didn’t think teachers would like the change, but so far, most have embraced it.

She also said:

• The new scheduling still allows students to double up on math classes, but forces them to do so their senior year, when they would have pre-cal in the fall and calculus in the spring.

• Dual enrollment classes would still be year-round for technical students. Academic dual enrollment classes will be scheduled individually.

• Band will still be handled with a split block class.

• Athletics will be scheduled year-round, as seventh and eighth-block classes.