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BHS plans new year schedule changes

The sound of the bell echoing in the hallway is a sure tell signthat it’s time for the next class at Brookhaven High School, butfor Panthers that familiar bell will toll at new times nextyear.

Plans are being made to install a modified block schedule, cuttingthe current seven-period schedule down to six periods, in effortsto provide students a chance to gain an additional Carnegie Unitduring the school year.

“I don’t think there are going to be any issues whatsoever. I thinkit’s going to be a smooth transition,” said Brookhaven SchoolDistrict Superintendent Dr. Lisa Karmacharya. “Everybody is used toa block schedule and this is simply going to be a modifiedblock.”

Ole Brook high school students above the freshmen level arefamiliar with the block schedule, as it was the schedule used priorto the current year. A block schedule is when one period lastsabout twice as long as a typical class.

At this point, the modified schedule could consist of the first twoperiods being blocked, a longer than usual third period, and thefourth through sixth periods lasting 48 minutes each.

“We’re blocking two periods so kids can get a full Carnegie Unit,”said Karmacharya.

The current schedule only allows for students to earn a maximum ofseven units, or credits needed for graduation. The modifiedschedule will give students the opportunity to earn eightunits.

For students that began their high school career in 2004, they willneed 28 Carnegie Units to graduate.

The official schedule at the high school will be discussed in anupcoming meeting in May and in the months ahead between schooladministrators.

“I don’t know exactly what the final product is going to look likebecause a lot of that is dictated by what courses the kids want totake,” said Dr. Jay Smith, BHS principal.

With extended classes also comes the risk of losing students’interest, but Smith said that can be overcome with creativeteachers.

“When you run block classes you have to always take intoconsideration the attention span of the students you’re teaching,”said Smith.

In addition to making another unit available to students, themodified block schedule will also assist in making schedulingbetween BHS and the Mississippi School of the Arts a littlesmoother.

Many students who study at MSA also take courses at BHS.

“I want to make sure we support all the children throughout theentire community,” said Karmacharya.

MSA Principal Jana Perry said the arts school will be switching toa block schedule next year, which will give instructors more timeto educate their students during their more hands-on typeclasses.

“The reason we prefer block is because it is very hard to fit anentire arts experience in 50 minutes,” said Perry.

Perry added the block schedule will also assist students who jointhe arts school, who may behind in certain courses, to make upmissed classes.

“We’re very grateful (BHS is) willing to take on a little change aswell for next year,” she said. “I think it will really benefit bothschools.”