Maximizing the 8-period schedule

Nathan Dahm

How do we maximize our time?” is the new question at hand now that Liberty’s eight-period block schedule has been secured. With roughly 127 hours of student face time available, Principal Josh Almy and staff have started discussing methods that could enhance the learning time students receive while at school.

“We want to find creative ways to teach the materials for each subject with the available time we’re given”, Almy said. “With a rough estimation of 127 hours of face time, when compared to a six-period day we have about 30 hours less per year to teach, but there are two different schools of thought.”

These different thoughts, which are being used in tandem to find all possible solutions for maximization, are, “how we can make use of the time given?” and, “how we can enrich the courses offered at Liberty, making them just as valuable as those offered elsewhere?” With less face time, the staff is attempting to develop unique, creative, and effective ways for educating students in Advanced Placement, college credit classes, and high rigor to a level equivalent to that seen in similar college courses offered with less time available.

“For example, if you were to take AP Psych next year versus Psych 105 at Western [Washington University], you will get the same amount of credits with about 30 percent the amount of time we have,” Almy said. “So, what we’re trying to ask ourselves is, with less time, is there an element of what they’re doing that we can do at Liberty High school?”

The goal includes a push to produce equally educated students at Liberty with materials that compare to the classes and education offered at Skyline and Issaquah, so all students receive an equally valued and enriching education beneath district common assessments, all of which is to be done while maintaining the eight-period block schedule. Different methods have been proposed.

“Flip teaching, where a teacher videos themselves lecturing then posts it for their students to watch, is one option being studied,” Almy said, “but the question is how valuable that would be at Liberty.”

AdditionalWly, students beginning with the class of 2016, will have a higher    graduation requirements from 28 to 29.5 credits.

“An increase of 1.5 credits in science and social studies gives us a 92 percent use of the total classes required to graduate compared to the 87.5 percent that we have now,” Almy said