Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough middle schools moving toward a seven-period day

TAMPA — Some teachers might not be thrilled about it, but Hillsborough County middle schools will likely switch from six daily periods to seven this fall.

Officials said the changes, which were enacted two years ago at the high school level, would allow students to take more elective classes. They could also save the district $10 million compared with the cost of hiring more teachers by August to meet the state's class-size amendment.

"This was driven by kids and what they need," said superintendent MaryEllen Elia.

But union officials said teachers are likely to see heavier workloads — more class preparation time, or more students and paperwork — and plan to bring that up during contract negotiations.

At a School Board workshop Tuesday, the district stressed the benefits for students in moving from six 60-minute periods per day to seven periods of 50 minutes each.

Right now, students who are forced into remedial classes due to low scores on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test often can't take elective classes such as music or art, said Josie Sanders, general director for middle school education.

"The remedial kids really were being disenfranchised," said board member Jack Lamb.

With the change, teachers who are now teaching five periods a day would teach six. But their total number of teaching minutes would remain at 300, making it unnecessary to renegotiate the district's contract with teachers, officials said.

Some teachers might be concerned at the prospect of teaching an additional class period, Elia said. But doing so will make it possible for all students to take the full range of course offerings, from agricultural sciences to band and Spanish.

"This is a great scheduling model for all kids," said principal Maribeth Franklin, who piloted the change last fall at Barrington Middle School. "I think it's been great for all of my kids on campus."

Those benefits didn't stop 200 union representatives from voting unanimously against the changes at a meeting last week, said Nick Whitman, executive director of the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers' Association.

He said the district was likely within its rights to make the changes without negotiating.

"But what they do need to negotiate with us on is the impact of this," he said.

For example, English or special-needs teachers might see more students and therefore get more paperwork. Such changes in working conditions would require concessions from the district, he said.

Cash-strapped districts across Florida are searching for ways to meet the final phase of the 2002 class-size amendment. By August, they must comply with firm limits of 18 students per teacher at the elementary level, 22 students in middle school and 25 in high school.

Hillsborough is already facing the prospect of possibly changing some school boundaries in order to comply with the law. If it didn't change the middle school schedule, the district would also have to hire more teachers in core academic subjects, said deputy superintendent Ken Otero.

And if an elective that once enrolled 12 students now enrolls 25, it's less likely to be eliminated due to budget cuts.

"For the elective teachers, it keeps their job," Otero said.

Tom Marshall can be reached at tmarshall@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3400.

Hillsborough middle schools moving toward a seven-period day 01/19/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 19, 2010 11:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rowdies shut out at Pittsburgh

    Soccer

    PITTSBURGH — The Rowdies lost their first USL game in nearly a month, 1-0 to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

  2. Trump reveals that he didn't record Comey after all

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Thursday he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with ousted former FBI director James Comey, ending a monthlong guessing game that he started with a cryptic tweet and that ensnared his administration in yet more controversy.

    President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn’t record his conversations with James Comey.
  3. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case

    Crime

    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  5. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.