Following a special Board of Education meeting Sept. 28 to hear a final presentation by the Mundelein High School administration concerning the bell schedule, the District 120 Board has voted 5 to 1 to move from the current 4 X 4 Block Schedule to a traditional 8-period day. The new schedule will begin at the start of the 2017-2018 school year.MHS leadership is enthusiastic about moving to a traditional 8-period schedule and will join 17 other Lake County high schools with that schedule. The new schedule will include eight up to 54-minute periods, including lunch, which will be one of those periods."I commend the Board of Education, administration, staff, students and the community for almost two years of extensive study which has led to this decision," Kevin Myers, superintendent, explained. "This has truly been an open, collaborative process and we are looking forward to moving to the new schedule. It is absolutely the right thing to do for all of our students," he said. "It has also been an eye-opening experience. For example, the fact that our students only experience 18 months each of English, math, science and social studies during their four years at MHS is alarming. We must be focused on providing the best possible education for ALL of our students and, after looking at our research, we were painfully aware that we are not currently doing that," Myers said. "We must prepare our students for a successful future."Mundelein High School is one of the few schools in Illinois to be on a 4 X 4 Block Schedule which involves four 90-minute class periods each day. One of the major concerns was that with all classes being completed in nine or 18 weeks, rather than in 18 or 36 weeks, students experienced "gap time," which involved long breaks in time between successive courses. "We have a responsibility to provide the best education possible for our students and this gap time issue was crucial in our recommendations to changing our bell schedule," said Anthony Kroll, principal.Another major issue in the 4 X 4 Block was Advanced Placement [AP] courses. While those courses in most schools last the full school year, on the MHS schedule many students had an AP course that ended in December, but the national AP exams aren't taken until May. "This created many problems for both the students and the teachers," Kroll explained. "We look forward to having full-year AP courses so that our students are on a level playing field with other AP students throughout the country," he said.Myers also explained that the 8-period schedule will have strong advantages for student wellness. Students will have longer lunch periods which supports the research that says students need some form of a break during their day. Their homework will be spread out over 176 days instead of 88, reducing the workload and the stress that accompanies it. Other advantages include study halls and resource periods, the option of taking six, seven, or for some students, even eight courses if they choose. Research has also shown that students and teachers in year-long courses form stronger bonds and work better together to benefit the students. Myers also stressed that there is no plan at this time for a reduction in [teaching] force due to the change in schedule.The MHS staff and administration will begin work immediately on making adjustments to the schedule and course offerings in time for students to register for their courses for next year."We have an outstanding staff and we know that we will make this transition a smooth one for both students and staff," Myers concluded.
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