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Doyline High School transitions to block schedule

by Minden Press-Herald

Doyline High School will transition to the block schedule when school starts next week.

Principal Bridget Bridges gave a presentation at Monday’s Webster Parish School Board meeting on the research she and the faculty and staff have done before making the decision. She says overall, going to the 4×4 block schedule will offer more opportunities.

“We just wanted to provide better opportunities for our students,” she said.
During the presentation, she gave some reasons why going to a block schedule would benefit Doyline.

One of the benefits include offering a stronger class selection, like more core electives rather than the traditional ones alone.

Bridges says they will be able to offer an extra science or social studies course. They will also be able to offer more college level courses for their dual enrollment program, like sociology or psychology.

Doyline’s school improvement team did extensive research into moving the school to a full block schedule. They visited schools that were similar in demographics such as Monterray High School and Negreet High School in Sabine Parish.

“We pulled all the school report cards and those have the two closest demographics to Doyline,” Bridges said. “We looked at their schedules and their extracurricular activities, just kind of a day in the life of their school.”

And they were encouraged by what they saw, she said.

Last year, Doyline was classified as a modified block schedule, a 2×2, which means only the English Language Arts courses were on a block schedule. Now Doyline will be classified as a full block schedule, or a 4×4, with four classes in the first semester and four classes in the second semester.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dan Rawls has been pushing for the block schedule for all the high schools in the parish, saying it just works better. North Webster High School is the only high school in the parish still on a seven-period day.

“It starts opening up the curriculum to offer more things to the kids, and that’s what we want to do,” he said. “We want to work out a (memorandum of understanding) with the community college so some of the professors can come and teach some of those classes. Before, you didn’t have time for those teachers to come in and teach; now there is. That’s just one factor.”

Block scheduling offers more advantages in that teachers are given more preparation time, more time to grade papers and it also gives teachers more time with their students.

One of the factors specifically for Doyline, Bridges says, is it will increase consistency for transfer students. Lakeside, Minden and Haughton high schools are all feeder schools into Doyline for transients or students who move often. With all three of those schools already running on a block schedule, it decreases the upset and potential course credit disruption between schools.

Some of the disadvantages to students, based on the school improvement team’s research, include absences are harder to make up, more extensive homework, boredom or possibly a harder time keeping up.

However, Bridges feels the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

“It’s going to be a transition for both our teachers and out students, but the opportunities are well worth trying for our kids,” she said.

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