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THURSDAY, JULY 26, 2007
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Changes in Lawrence County Schools
Block schedule abandoned for 7-period day

By Kristen Bishop
kbishop@decaturdaily.com 340-2443

MOULTON — Changes at Lawrence County schools may generate enough excitement to keep high-school students from groaning about the start of a new school year.

Students returning to classes Aug. 9 after summer vacation will see schedule changes, new teachers and more course offerings.

One of the major changes is the system's switch from a block schedule to a seven-period day.

With the block schedule, teens had only four classes each day with each class lasting about 11/2 hours.

Students changed schedules for the second semester, allowing them to take eight classes each year.

This year, high school students in Lawrence County will have to adjust to a seven-period-per-day schedule like the one at Decatur's high schools.

Some may not be thrilled with the increased daily course load, but most can at least appreciate the end of 90-minute history lectures.

"Any time you change, folks are a little skeptical," said Superintendent Dexter Rutherford.

"The students probably think they won't like it, but hopefully the change of pace will keep their interest."

He told Board of Education members in April that a seven-period day would free
teachers to offer more elective courses.

That hasn't affected this year's planned course offerings at the high schools but may pan out as administrators and teachers adjust to the changes.

No early dismissals

The school board got rid of the block schedule at the same time it ended the early dismissal program, which allowed seniors to leave school before 3 p.m., if they had completed their required courses.

This school year, students will not be dismissed early unless they are dually enrolled in college courses or going to work as part of the community cooperative program.

Rather than go home early and crash on the couch with the remote control and a bag of chips, high school students may be able to fill their time with classes at one of the three new distance-learning labs.

Distance-learning

The state awarded the labs to Lawrence County and Hazlewood high schools during an
expansion of the ACCESS
distance-learning initiative in May.

School officials decided
to move the existing lab at the Lawrence County Center
of Technology, next to Lawrence County High, to Hatton
High, giving more students
an opportunity to use the facilities.

Using Internet and Web-based conferencing, the labs allow small schools to offer big-school classes like Advanced Placement, foreign languages and technical courses.

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