At their final meeting before the new school year begins, members of the Sudbury Public Schools Committee heard the details of a new daily schedule for students at Curtis Middle School.
"This didn't happen overnight. This didn't happen with just a little bit of work," said Superintendent Anne Wilson, as she introduced the members of a committee that worked on the new schedule.
Stephen Lambert, principal of Curtis Middle School, outlined some of the challenges presented by the previous system, which operated on a rotating six-day schedule with eight periods per day. He said the old schedule split blocks in many core classes, involved frequent transitions for students and offered too few options for scheduling students outside of the norm, such as when a student needs to take more reading classes. In addition, he said the old schedule posed time challenges for staff members who work in multiple schools and also didn't provide enough flexibility for parents who need to schedule meetings with teachers.
"We could have just adopted a high school-type schedule, but we are not a high school," said Lambert, explaining that the committee working on the new schedule concentrated on finding a plan that works best for middle school students.
Under the new schedule, Curtis will operate on a 5-day system with longer blocks, which Lambert says will result in additional time being spent in classes, and less time on transitions. Classes will now average 53 minutes each, he said. The schedule will include four staggered lunch periods.
Under the new schedule, core subjects, such as math, science and social studies will take place every day, while others, such as World Languages and Unified Arts, will meet on a rotating basis.
"In some schools, when they are looking to cut, languages and arts are what is cut first, so we are thrilled to be able to maintain them," Lambert said.
Lambert also announced that the school has chosen the Captured History series for the "One Book, One School" reading program. The series consists of six books based on the premise that a photograph can change the course of history. Students will be able to select which of the six they'd like to read, he said.
Student enrollment in Sudbury's public schools for the 2012-2013 school year appears to be extremely close to what was projected, according to Supt. Wilson, who said there may still be the usual last-minute changes.
"We're going to be watching those numbers throughout the week, and also see who walks through the door on Tuesday," Wilson said.