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Ocean City High School May Restructure the School Day

The school will consider a rotating schedule that allows longer class periods.

The Ocean City Board of Education heard a presentation last week by Principal Matthew Jamison on restructuring class schedules at Ocean City High School to allow longer class periods.

"In a high school, our currency is time," Jamison said. "It's what we do."

Jamison told the board that the current schedule has students "moving at light speed" through eight instructional periods of 42 minutes, cramming a 21-minute lunch into the mix at some point.

The proposed new schedule would have students retaining a schedule of eight classes — but only six would meet each day, allowing 55 minutes of instruction. The class schedule would rotate — with each class meeting three out of every four days.

The longer class periods would allow "quality instructional time" and "longer periods for more active learning opportunities," Jamison said.

"Application is the name of the game," he said. "Student will have to apply knowledge."

Representatives of the high school visited schools in the northern (Chatham High School), central (West Windsor-Plainsboro High School) and southern (Mainland Regional High School) parts of the state in investigating the merits of the rotation schedule in action.

If approved by the Board of Education, the new schedule would be implemented with the start of the 2012-13 school year in September, and students would select courses by the end of March.

The rotation schedule is different than "block scheduling," in which the school year would be broken into two semesters — with students taking just four classes in each semester.

The proposed schedule would work on a four-day rotation with three of four morning and three of four afternoon classes meeting each day. The entire school would have the same lunch period under the proposed schedule.

The "unit lunch" is necessary to make the rotating schedule work, but also allows more opportunity for students and teachers to meet for additional guidance, according to Jamison.

The lunch plan would have students using a variety of school facilities to eat — including the existing cafeteria, the courtyard and gymnasium. Seven stations or kiosks would be set up to serve students a variety of foods.

Startup costs for the new rotation schedule — all related to the new unit lunch plan — would be an estimated $45,000 to $50,000 to set up the serving stations and equip new spaces for students to eat.

The Board of Education will likely consider the plan at its Feb. 22 meeting.

"We have to do something to let teachers unleash their potential," Jamison said in making his pitch for the new plan.



Mr. B February 01, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Mr. Fenichel, the article clearly states that this is NOT the block scheduling format. so I think your comments are mute.
Joe Fontombon February 01, 2012 at 03:30 PM
The schedule is in place at Mainland, second year. It's a great success. Food kiosks are necessary to serve all students in one lunch session, rather than being spread out over many hours. A very positive change, from what I hear.
Matt Caulfield February 04, 2012 at 02:36 AM
As a student at OCHS I can attest to the fact that class periods are way too short. We must aim for the best quality education possible, and if that means an investment, I think that it's worth it. There is a multitude of benefits to longer class periods, from more complete evaluations to more opportunities to apply knowledge. A longer school day would not work in any case.
vic February 04, 2012 at 05:15 AM
state testing results have just been released and they indicate that ocean city high school is above the state averages in every category. there is an ancient adage that states "don't mess with success".
Babs March 07, 2012 at 04:46 AM
A modified block schedule was started in Egg Harbor Twsp High School this year. It sounds quite close to what is being proposed in Ocean City. Not only do the teachers have time to finish a lesson, there is less passing in the halls which has cut back dramatically on problems in the hallways amoungst the students. Disappline has been reduced.


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