Letter: Put brakes on new high school schedule
On Nov. 18, Fairfield Ludlowe High School parents were given their first look at the new high school class schedule. The last time an administration spoke to parents about a new high school schedule was back in 2008, and due to economic conditions affecting the town, chose not to implement it.
The schedule presented last month bears no resemblance to the 2008 plan except that it contained the same guiding principles.
What the new plan and presentation did offer parents was more questions than answers.
How will increasing instruction time from 45 minutes to 85 minutes per class, with classes meeting two or three times a week, improve student achievement?
What are the corresponding curriculum changes that will need to be implemented?
How is it that after a year of committee meetings, administrators do not know how gym, health, science labs and special education will work in this new schedule?
What is the cost of increased professional development, and when this year will our teachers have the time to receive this extensive training?
What additional costs besides professional development will be associated with this new plan?
Why were the PTAs, parents and students left out of the process when their support is an integral piece of this being a success?
In 2008, the plan was estimated to cost $1 million, but no estimate on this new plan has been provided. In addition, this plan has not been presented at any Board of Education meeting, and the administration made it clear Nov. 18 that there will be no future meetings for parents. The student presentation was the day before Thanksgiving break.
It is important to note that the first time the new high school schedule was discussed by the superintendent and school board chairman was during the request for funds to expand Ludlowe with additional classrooms, a new cafeteria, new roof and replacement of the PCB-contaminated windows.
The cost estimate given the town was $11.6 million, and now the estimate based on bids and projections has the project at $14.3 million and a month behind schedule.
The administration needs to take a step back and slow down the pace of implementing this plan until they can make a comprehensive presentation and get the full support of the parents, students and teachers as well as provide a detailed request for funds to all of the stakeholders.
We need to guarantee that moving in this direction is what is best for our students and teachers, and the administration has failed through their presentations to make that guarantee. We have waited since 2008 to implement a new high school schedule; what is the rush now?