Lodi Unified School District trustees learned more about block scheduling on Tuesday, but have no immediate plans to alter the schedules at any of the district's four high schools.
Ed Eldridge, assessment coordinator, Dawn Vetica, assistant superintendent of secondary education, and Lisa Kotowski, curriculum director, gave their second presentation comparing test scores of students at McNair High School with those of students at the other comprehensive high schools in the district.
The results gave no clear indication which schedule type is more effective for learning, but teachers and students at McNair gave a rousing endorsement of block schedules.
Students on the block schedule are able to take more classes during their high school career.
In four-by-four block schedules, each teacher has one prep period and three classes each semester, totaling six courses taught in a year.
In a traditional schedule in Lodi Unified, high school teachers manage five classes at one time for an entire year, spreading their focus out more thinly over more students.
Trustee George Neely pointed out factors beyond scheduling that affect a student's test scores, including parent education levels and socioeconomic status.
"Let McNair keep doing what they're doing," said Neely.
Trustee Joe Nava was a teacher working on a block schedule at Stagg High School, and preferred it.
"One hundred percent, I will take a block schedule every time," said Nava. "I don't see anything broken here."
Trustee Ron Heberle raised concerns that covering one year of material in a single semester means tackling two lessons in each instructional day.
Teachers from McNair were quick to assure him that was not the case.
"It's not the quantity of work, but the depth of the curriculum," Bryn Lum, an English teacher at the school. "Instead of teaching eight stories, I'll teach three or four. But I'll use more in each story."
Lum is also able to spend more time with each student in the 90-minute class period.
With only two or three core classes at a time, students are able to spend more quality time studying for each class, said Lum.
Student Cole Her, 15, heard the board was concerned about block scheduling, and took it upon himself to provide the student perspective. He gathered 397 student signatures in favor of block scheduling, out of 400 students asked.
Without block scheduling, Her maintains he could not keep up with his classes. He is the oldest of five children, and spends time at home helping the younger ones with homework. This way, he can focus on just a few subjects each day, and during each week of final exams.
He presented his petition to the board, but Heberle explained that the board was just curious about block scheduling. There are no plans to eliminate the style from the district.
Vetica plans to include discussion of block scheduling in upcoming committee meetings regarding the district's strategic plan.