High school redesign on hold

Ashland High School's redesign is on hold for next academic year because teachers are concerned by some of the proposed scheduling changes, the superintendent said.

The proposed redesign would require each teacher to serve as a counselor for a group of students, and would increase project-based learning and technology use at the high school.

"I think we need to get some consensus at the high school," Superintendent Juli Di Chiro told the School Board last week. "We just simply don't have that at this point, so we need to regroup."

The district has been working on the redesign for two years. Administrators want to rework the high school to accommodate for declining enrollment and to better integrate new teaching methods.

Step one of the five-year redesign was scheduled to be implemented in the fall. Because the redesign is on hold, the five-year plan will need to become a four-year plan, to be implemented in the 2011-12 academic year, Di Chiro said.

"It was a pretty long and comprehensive implementation plan," she said. "It was not met with a great deal of consensus and that was disappointing to all of us that had worked on it, but we have to listen to all of the teachers and work with them."

Some teachers expressed concern about implementing the redesign next academic year, because they didn't feel they were prepared for the changes, particularly those that required them to serve as counselors to small groups of students, from their freshman through their senior years, Di Chiro said.

"Some of the teachers were concerned that we were implementing that too quickly with out enough training," she said. It's not opposition to the strategy itself — it's more concerns about, 'Are we ready for this?'"

District administrators plan to begin training teachers this year on some aspects of the redesign, such as project-based learning, Di Chiro said.

School Board Vice Chairwoman Heidi Parker said she was disappointed that the redesign was on hold.

"I think we need to start again and actively include middle school aged students or teachers or parents," she said. "I know our work is not done."

Contact staff writer Hannah Guzik at 482-3456 ext. 226 or hguzik@dailytidings.com.

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