Schedules at the Winona Senior High School may change, again. The school switched to a trimester schedule four years ago. Now, a group of teachers has been meeting to discuss various options for high school schedules, and those options are expected to be presented to the Winona Area Public Schools (WAPS) Board of Education on Thursday.
High school principal Kelly Halvorsen said the teacher committee had not produced a recommendation for a change, but that district leaders had requested scheduling data be examined. Attempting to change the schedule for the coming year would be difficult, added Halvorsen. “It would be [a] tight [timeline] to make a schedule change at this point,” she said.
Currently, high school students take five classes at a time in a trimester system. Each class is 65 minutes long and each trimester is about 58 days. The district moved to this system four years ago, according to Halvorsen. Prior to that, the high school operated on a four-quarter schedule, each with four class periods. Each class was 90 minutes and each term, or quarter, was approximately 42 days. The four-period, four-term schedule was used at the high school for roughly 15 years, said Halvorsen.
Halvorsen said there were several drawbacks with the five-class, trimester schedule. Scheduling of classes can be difficult, and sometimes students are forced to take the first term of the class at the beginning of the year and the second term during the third trimester, which can mean a difficult transition due to the intervening second trimester. Halvorsen said that there can also be problems trying to fit advanced classes or challenge courses into the trimester schedule. “In the [five-class, trimester schedule] we’re finding out where the shortfalls are,” said Halvorsen. “The board is hearing us and wants to see what we can do about it.”