Canal Winchester High School plans new student schedule options for fall

Big changes are underway for Canal Winchester High School students beginning in the 2021-22 school year.

The timetable change resulted from the high school’s participation in the Cross-State High School Redesign Collaborative, where schools from seven states work with Johns Hopkins University to use peer-to-peer networks and evidence-based strategies to optimize school models .

Other Ohio schools in the program include Harding High School in Marion, Riverview East Academy in Cincinnati, Shaw High School in East Cleveland, and Zanesville High School. The Ohio Department of Education also works with Johns Hopkins and participating Ohio schools. According to the ODE, the schools were selected to participate in a selective application process aimed at representing the schools across the state.

During the fall, students at Canal Winchester High School can choose either a traditional personal class schedule of seven lessons plus a lunch break. a personal block plan in which the courses meet less often but longer; or online learning.

These permanent schedule changes are available to all grade levels in the high school.

While some tasks for teachers may change from students who choose a block learning model, principal Kirk Henderson said he does not envisage any change in teachers’ workload.

“Most teachers teach six hours out of seven, and it will stay that way,” he said. “We looked it over and we think staffing won’t be an issue.”

Henderson said the redesign had been in the works for several years and the district had set up a staff teacher committee led by Canal Winchester High School’s English teacher Robert Harris. It was established in 2019 to oversee the schedule change.

“We’ve been looking at this for the past few years and it was just time to get it in position and put on paper,” he said. “Our teachers, I think, are ready for a change.”

Former teacher on the Canal Winchester Board of Education, Michal Yonnotti, spoke out in favor of the change at the board meeting on February 8.

“We are curious to see how it all works. I find it very interesting, ”he said.

Board member Matt Kreuger said the board did not vote on the change after Superintendent James Soltar granted authority to pass planning changes last August.

“We believe this schedule gives students a lot of flexibility so they have much better opportunities to prepare for their future,” said Henderson.

One of those opportunities is to give students the opportunity to get a head start in college or career learning, he said.

If they wish, students can have a take-away lunch so they can devote their lunch break to another class. This allows them to catch up on the credits they need or to free up space in their timetables for junior and senior internships and job shadowing opportunities during their school years.

Henderson said the new schedule will also give the district time to teach students a full complement of everyday skills that can be overlooked in educational institutions.

“We will also have regular periods of activity where we can get members of the community to teach life skills with our students. Things we don’t talk about much anymore, like changing the oil in a car. How to change a tire, how to wire a lamp holder in your house, ”he said. “Various things that we don’t have to spend a lot of time on, but which are still very important in everyday life.”

As part of the new planning system, the high school will have regular job fairs for students looking for employment after graduation and college fairs for students looking to continue their education.

“It’s about those three E’s: hiring, enrollment and employment,” said Henderson. “Whichever path a student takes, it will allow them to focus more on it.”

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