Dillingham school invites community input on trimester scheme

Apr 6, 2016

Middle and high school students will likely have trimesters next fall; community members are invited to weigh in at a meeting on April 13th. 

Credit Dillingham City School District

Dillingham Middle/High School will likely switch from its current two-semester system to a trimester system in the fall.  

Principal Bill Schwan and school counselor Jill Elliott presented the plan to the school board at its work session Monday night.

One of the main goals, they said, is to allow students to concentrate on fewer subjects at a time.

"This change is in response to concerns we've heard from parents and students about the number of classes they’re trying to juggle," said Elliott. "For example, some of our middle school students have 10 classes -- not every day, but the way our rotation schedules works, it’s a lot for them to try to maintain, especially with travel for difference activities. So our goal is to minimize the number of classes they’re focusing on at one time."

According to Schwan, the trimester schedule will also allow the district to offer more elective options, even with a reduced number of staff due to budget cuts. 

Under the new system, Elliott explained, students will take the same five classes, plus literacy, every day for 12 weeks. Fridays will still be shorter days, to accommodate for sports and activity travel.

The trimester system would not alter the overall school calendar, but would shift the finals schedule. The first trimester would end in the middle of November. After about five weeks of the second trimester would be Christmas break, and then students would return after vacation with about seven weeks left in the second trimester.

"That might cause some concern for students that are transferring in and out," Elliott acknowledged. "They will earn their credits from first trimester, and then we can always send their transfer progress with them, and we’ll work with students who come to us. But they will be awarded that full semester credit at the end of twelve weeks."

The number of credits needed for graduation will remain the same.

Schwan and Elliott said there is near-unanimous support among current teachers for the switch to trimesters.

The administration is inviting input from parents and community members at a meeting on April 13th at 6 p.m. in the middle school gym.