by Lisa Tome
Perryville High School students are getting two semesters worth of education at once.
According to Principal Charles Helm, a pilot program has the school population taking two semesters at once by alternating a day to day A/B schedule.
"Research tells us that kids should have English, reading, and math all year long. This allows that," said Helm. He also said that in the early days of the new school year, it was a challenge getting used to a new routine.
"The vast majority of the students are still in the infancy stage with this. We're not getting complaints. We have signs up around the building and we make announcements every day," said Helm.
An example of the new schedule would have a 12th grader learning algebra, honors English, contemporary world studies, and psychology on an "A" Day.
The following day, the "B" Day, the same student would have senior option, service learning, chemistry, and mythology.
Helm said that the A/B schedule also eliminates gaps. Under the old schedule, a student may have had Spanish I first semester of their sophomore year and then have to wait until second semester of the following year for Spanish II.
One issue that has cropped up during the pilot, has been with students who attend Cecil School of Technology. Those students still follow a semester schedule.
"The next time we build the schedule, we will be better at it," said Helm. "I've already found ways to fine tune this for the next school year. I'm looking forward to every year having the chance to improve on this. As long as we're doing what's in the best interest of the kids, and this schedule gets us there."
This pilot program does not impact those in ninth grade. Those in their first year of high school have Freshman Academy, a program designed to help students adjust to high school. Ninth graders have most of their core classes in one area of the building through Freshman Academy. That program, which was also piloted at Perryville High, is geared to helping students make a successful transition.
Middle schools in the county already use a rotating, daily schedule.