Superintendent recommends six-period schedule for Liberty High School
November 28, 2012
By Lillian O'Rorke
NEW — 9:15 p.m. Nov. 28, 2012
Superintendent Steve Rasmussen recommended Wednesday for Liberty High School to switch to a six-period schedule.
For nearly two decades, the school has used an eight-period block schedule where students take four 90-minute classes each day. However, in order to establish a common, districtwide high school schedule, and to give Liberty students more time to study core subjects, the Issaquah School District is considering changing Liberty’s timetable.
Rasmussen made his recommendation to the Issaquah School Board during a work study session. The main reason, he said, is because the existing block schedule gives Liberty students 127 hours per class each year, where Issaquah High School has 161 hours and Skyline High School has 165.
“What I am saying is: I don’t want lower standards for a group of our students. I don’t want them to be short-changed,” Rasmussen said.
“The reality of the education world is changing,” he added, listing new teacher and principal evaluation models and common core assessments as examples of the new challenges. “If we are moving forward, then we’ve got to consider a change.”
Earlier this month, the Liberty Schedule Committee voted unanimously for a seven-period school day. While the compromise would give students the desired minimum of 150 hours of class time, Rasmussen said its price tag of $888,000 is beyond the district’s reach.
“Is $888,000 — in a $170 million budget — unattainable?” asked board President Brian Deagle.
The superintendent answered that if he did have that money to spend, he would spend it elsewhere.
Rasmussen’s six-period recommendation would not call for additional staff and would give Liberty students 160 hours per class per year.
The superintendent also included recommendations to provide more electives, which has been a major point of contention. One idea is a pilot program next year that would provide Metro Transit-style busing for seventh-period electives at all three comprehensive high schools. The extra buses would cost an estimated $150,000 a year.
It is now up to the school board to decide whether to approve Rasmussen’s six-period recommendation or leave things the way they are. The board is set to make that vote during its Dec. 12 meeting.