Columbia County high school students will have smaller classes and more opportunities to earn credits starting next school year.
The Board of Education voted this week to add a seventh period to high school schedules next fall, which will help students stay on track to
graduate on time, school officials said.
The current six-period day allows for a student to earn 24 units within four years. A total of 23 units is required for a student to graduate.
A seven-period day will allow a student to earn up to 28 units within the same four years, according to documents supplied by Columbia County schools.
Schools Superintendent Sandra Carraway told school board members the plan should help improve the graduation rate, reduce class sizes and allow students to take more electives, especially in such areas as foreign language, career and technical courses and advanced academic classes.
With the additional period, students also may be offered support classes to enhance test taking skills, online instruction, and allow for credit recovery.
All of high schools already offer a so-called “achievement period” during the school day for enrichment activities or academic support, but students do not receive academic credit for that period.
The new schedule changes that, and also will allow schools to offer Georgia Virtual online classes with a wide array of course selections for credit.
“This formalizes an additional period we have already put into the schedule,” Carraway said.
She also said the additional period will benefit students who have fallen behind academically, giving them another avenue to earn needed credits.
This, in turn, should reduce the number of students taking summer school courses, which creates an additional expense for the system, she said.
“We would hope the need for summer school will be reduced greatly,” she said.
Carraway said the implement the change the system will have to hire 14 more high school teachers.
Also, high school students will be required to come to school five minutes earlier than usual next fall in order to
accommodate the new schedule.
The seven-period day offers one more additional perk for seniors who are one track to graduate on time, she said.
This senior could be allowed to skip one period, coming in late or leaving early each day, she said.