Highline Public Schools moving to 5-period trimester starting in fall 2020


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Highline Public Schools announced this week that – after two years of study and feedback from staff and families – they will move to a five-period trimester system starting in fall 2020.

The district said that this new system is similar to many college schedules – there are fewer weeks in a term, but class periods are longer and students have fewer courses per term.

“This will require significant changes to the way we teach in order to cover the required material in shorter terms,” Superintendent Susan Enfield said. “Our teachers will need to adapt lesson plans and teaching strategies. We will provide the professional development, time and support teachers need to get prepared by fall 2020.”

The district has set a goal of having 19 out of 20 students graduating.

“The high school course schedule we have today leaves students with no second chances if they fail even one class, and gives them very narrow learning opportunities outside core academic requirements,” the district said. “This is no small task, given that graduating is not getting easier, and in fact, new state graduation requirements make it tougher.”

Enfield added:

“The five-period trimester system has its challenges; but it also presents a significant opportunity our students do not have in our current semester system. And the costs of not changing are significant: fewer students will graduate on time, and no students will have access to a broader array of course options.

“Our students are smart and capable, and they will adapt to the new system. I am confident our teachers and staff will adapt, too. We owe it to our students to provide every opportunity to graduate prepared for the future they choose.”

The district has opened an online survey to get the public’s input on what they need to be thinking about as they plan for this transition please share your thoughts here.

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