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  Comments (0) Total Tuesday Apr. 15, 2014
Whitefish High School Mulls Change to Block Schedule
Some parents raise concerns that shift would disrupt music, fine arts classes
Students enter Whitefish High School after the lunch break.- Flathead Beacon file photo
Whitefish High School will likely switch to a new block schedule next school year, but the revised classroom curricula has drawn the ire of some parents who say it would dilute the focus on electives, like music and fine arts classes.

The school district is considering a move to some type of block schedule, which allows for fewer classes per day while increasing the individual class time.

The proposed change received a mixture of support and criticism at a Jan. 14 school board meeting, with some parents and students calling the revised schedule an improvement because longer class periods are more engaging and in-depth, while others said it would compromise arts and music classes.

Currently, the school operates with seven class periods per day that run about 50 minutes. Under a block schedule, students attend four classes per day that run about 90 minutes. The classes rotate through a changing daily cycle.

Parent Ross Strauser said he worries that the change would affect music and arts, since the block schedule focuses on non-elective classes like math and science.

“There’s a kind of collateral damage that comes along with block scheduling, because music and arts classes are damaged. That’s the side effect of block scheduling,” he said.

Strauser’s son, Rmi, attends Whitefish High School and takes multiple music classes. He spoke at the meeting and said he intends on studying music in college, and is concerned he might not have the same level of experience if the electives are curtailed.

Administrators said block scheduling offers more opportunities for instruction and the music department could operate on a modified schedule to accommodate its needs.

Strauser said he’s met with two board members and Principal Kerry Drown, and believes there are ways to amend the block schedule to address his and other parents’ concerns.

“I think there are viable options, and we’ll continue to collaborate on this,” he said.
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