After a year of trimester scheduling, the Montezuma-Cortez High School is returning to a semester system.
Superintendent Lori Haukeness announced the change at the Feb. 19 board meeting. She attributed the decision to creating an easier transition for the school while hiring a principal to replace Jason Wayman, who is resigning.
“Jason really had an eye for scheduling as you can tell, and so Jason was pretty much able to build the whole schedule and see it through,” Haukeness said. “And that was a concern with the incoming principal, that you really want to set a system up to succeed. ... Quite frankly, the trimester would just be very difficult, especially when you have a leadership team saying that it would be very difficult to proceed.”
The middle school, which also has been on trimesters for the past year, will revert to semesters too, she said.
The district decided to move to a trimester schedule last year to allow students to take more specialized or career-focused courses, Haukeness said.
When Wayman submitted his letter of resignation, Haukeness asked him to speak with his leadership team about their thoughts on trimesters, and they responded that they felt it would be better to revert to a semester system.
“Next year, we’ll be looking at a semester schedule, with a six-period day as it was before,” Haukeness said. “And so the schedule should be very easy, it’s a schedule that we followed for many years. It’s a traditional track that a lot of high schools all around (use), and they still provide good opportunities for the students.”
Board member Jack Schuenemeyer asked how the new scheduling would affect students’ graduation requirements. Haukeness replied that she didn’t know about specifics, but credits would need to be adjusted and staff would need to work with students closely.
“I’m a little disappointed that we couldn’t tweak the trimester system a little bit and work with it a little bit, but I understand why it is, it makes sense,” said board member Lance McDaniel.
Other newsThe board also discussed the possibility of trying to pass a mill levy override to help increase teacher salaries, along with the possibility of implementing a four-day week to attract and retain teachers.
Board members reported having visited with teachers at schools throughout the district to talk about proposing a mill levy override again.
While many teachers were supportive, some were skeptical that a mill levy would pass.
Board president Sherri Wright said that during a visit at Kemper Elementary School and Montezuma-Cortez High School, Kemper teachers expressed a more favorable impression of the chances of a mill levy override. “At both schools they told me that if they could not have a salary increase, it would be nice to have ... a four-day week,” she said.
Directors Schuenemeyer and McDaniel, though, were concerned that a four-day week might adversely affect students.
Schuenemeyer posed the concern that a shorter week could be detrimental to at-risk students, who might benefit from an additional day of schooling. McDaniel said the move would be dangerous for food-insecure students who rely on the district’s free and reduced lunch program.
He added that longer school days to make up for shorter weeks could prevent rural students from participating in after-school activities.