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Extra Period For High School Science Classes Under Review

Officials are seeking input from stakeholders.

Patch file photo of Superintendent Maryann Perry and High School Principal Layne Millington. Credit: Terry Date
Patch file photo of Superintendent Maryann Perry and High School Principal Layne Millington. Credit: Terry Date


Marblehead High's principal told School Committee members Thursday that the school is reviewing the extra period assigned to most science classes.

School administrators are seeking input from staff, residents and students on whether the high school should keep the science lab period or drop it, said Principal Layne Millington.

Superintendent Maryann Perry affirmed that administrators are in a fact-finding mode with respect to the science class question. 

The principal said 70 percent of the school's science classes have the extra period. If it was dropped this would leave students more flexibility to take other classes, he said.

Ultimately, the schedule change, if adopted, would not necessarily improve the overall schedule, the principal said in an email to residents. 

Below is an excerpt from an email the principal sent out to community members on Thursday:

"There are three potential changes worthy of contemplation and they are dependent upon one- another; that is, the second and third are fairly moot if the outcome of the first is not to change.  Therefore, we need to consider the first before we waste time examining the others.  The first discussion has to do with the extra period allotted to some (currently 70%) of the science classes.  Should we maintain the status quo; or should the science classes lose that extra period and run as the other classes do?

It’s important to point out that this change, and the other two that may be looked at, will not necessarily improve the overall schedule.  These changes, if implemented, will only exchange one set of benefits for another.  In other words, there is just as much value to keeping the extra science period as there is in removing it.  The benefits are equal, but affect drastically different component of the quality of life for students at MHS.  Which is why we must contemplate these changes fully and together, because the decisions eventually made will really be a function of what benefits we value more for students than a means to make dramatic improvements in their overall educational outcomes.  If we, as a community, decide to make any of these changes, there will be benefits, but something equally significant will be lost."


Norman Birnbach December 06, 2013 at 07:23 AM
This article raised more questions than it answered. Can someone explain the benefit of dropping an extra science period when science education is important? If dropping the extra science period doesn't provide a benefit, why is it being considered? Also does the school board plan to hold hearings?
Terry Date (Editor) December 06, 2013 at 07:40 AM
Thank you, Norman. We will ask your questions. Talk on the topic arose at last night's School Committee meeting after a student said classmates have concerns about possible schedule changes. This is what have right now but will report additional information as it becomes available.

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