"I think [teachers] felt they didn't have their kids exactly where they wanted them to be," she says. "So it's going to be interesting to see."
Several Lafayette High School teachers are still grumbling about the school's first year under block scheduling ["Scheduling Conflict," Jan. 19]. They say that block scheduling ' which gives students more opportunities to take elective classes but cuts back on each course's overall hours ' has diluted classes and hurt students' grades. In response to the rising concerns, the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and LPSS imported national block scheduling author and adviser Robert Canady last week to speak on the innovative ways states like North Carolina and Virginia have used block scheduling.
The chamber and LPSS split the $6,000 tab for Canady's visit, which included his honorarium and traveling expenses. Though most in attendance at Canady's speech agreed the visit was productive, concerns prevailed over how his vision would be implemented into Louisiana's system.
Mangham says Lafayette has not invested in all of the additional teachers and resources that are needed to effectively adopt block scheduling. The result, she says, has been an overcrowding in basic elective courses such as art and speech. She also believes that scheduling options are limited at Lafayette High because it houses so many of the parish's programs for special education and foreign students.
"I think we jumped into this without really giving it a lot of thought," Mangham says. "If block scheduling is going to work, somebody's going to have to pay for it. It's not an inexpensive thing."
Attorney and former Lafayette Chamber of Commerce Chairman Gary McGoffin tempered his praise for Canady's visit with concern that it was too little, too late. McGoffin ' who spearheaded the Chamber's education initiatives during his tenure ' wishes the local school system would take more time to educate the public and train staff before implementing new programs.
"Our school system wants to make the decisions instead of doing the research," he says. "It's obvious that before we got into this year we could've used a whole lot more planning and preparation to make [block scheduling] a success."
For McGoffin, a critic of block scheduling, Canady's presentation provided a lot of answers on the effective use of the program.
"It's a lot more involved than I realized," McGoffin says. "We can have a vision now. We have a chance to do it right, now that we know there is a right way."
Under block scheduling, high school students now take eight courses in a year instead of six. The class times also have been extended to 90-minute periods and are held every other day ' with students rotating between Block A and B schedules. The schedule allows students to take more classes, but cuts overall class time in each subject by 35 hours annually. (Block scheduling was instituted at Comeaux and Northside high schools three years ago and is now used by all five Lafayette Parish high schools.)
At times during his public address at the Lafayette High Auditorium on Monday night, March 21, even Canady seemed befuddled by complications unique to Louisiana. The University of Virginia professor was stumped after parents and teachers told him that even if a local high school senior earns college credit at UL Lafayette, those credits often don't transfer to other state colleges such as LSU.
"I don't even know if that's legal," Canady said. "It must be a political issue or something. That's a Louisiana thing. I've never heard of that before."
Because block scheduling allows for two additional courses per year, many students will meet their required 23 credits for graduation at the end of their junior year. One of the main concerns of teachers and parents attending Canady's speech was keeping these students productive in their senior year. Canady advocated internships, tutoring and long distance learning programs for local seniors.
In addressing teachers' concerns over lost class time, Canady suggested schools "double block" core curriculum classes. Double blocking allows students two complementary math or English classes over the course of a year. He doesn't believe that students suffer because of shorter class times. "When teachers argue that, they're saying the other seven classes aren't worth anything," he says.
However, for several teachers struggling under the new system at Lafayette High, Canady sounded like an outsider. "I saw some good in what he was saying, but I don't think he was describing our school system," says English teacher John Keller.
Mangham says she hopes Canady's visit is a sign of further studies and discussion on block scheduling. "I think that there's some creative ways that we can schedule that would enhance block scheduling," she says. "We've just got a long way to go with this, and my concern is if we're not able to make this work in a productive way, the student pays the bill."
Black Friday shopping begins; Pope visiting Turkey; oil prices decline and more national and international news for Friday, November 28, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.