Starting mid-December, classes on Wednesdays and Thursdays will be slightly longer at Newark Memorial High School.
Each class will be seven minutes longer, and dismissal time will now be 2:05 p.m., instead of 1:45 p.m., on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Superintendent of Schools Dave Marken said the extended school days are necessary so that the high school reaches state-mandated minimum requirements for instructional time.
According to Marken, the school must provide its students 63,000 minutes of instructional minutes in the 2012-13 school year. As it is now, the district is short by approximately 1,000 minutes, he added.
The shortage was detected during an audit. In that assessment, it was determined that not all of the high school’s students receive enough instructional minutes because not all of them are enrolled in an A period, Marken said.
Newark Memorial runs on a six-period day. Some students, however, take an A period, which is scheduled between 6:50 a.m. and 7:40 a.m.
In the past, the high school offered at least two dozen courses during A period, but due to budget shortfalls, the number of classes that occur during A period has been trimmed down to 10 to 15.
Marken said adding the total of 20 minutes per day on Wednesday and Thursday was the best option for the high school.
“We wanted to rectify [the shortage of minutes] without there being too much of an issue,” Marken said.
The schedule change becomes effective on Dec. 10.
A notice dated Nov. 8 was sent to parents during the past week in which Principal Edward Marquez writes that the district is working with AC Transit to accommodate the bell schedule changes.
He also wrote, “We understand that this change may be difficult for some families to accommodate. No one wanted to be in a situation where we have to change the schedule mid-way through the year. Neither the decision to make the necessary changes, nor the creation of the new schedule were made easily or taken lightly.”
- BLOG: The Missing Minutes at Newark Memorial High School