- Currently, Lakeside teachers teach five classes and have two 50-minute planning periods. They serve 100 to 170 students daily.
- The proposed budget increases class size, adding two to three additional students to each of the current five classes.
- If the six-class proposal is implemented, teachers will teach up to 220 students and have one 50-minute planning period. For some, this will double their current workload; for others, it will increase dramatically.
- These numbers will mean up to 120 more papers, projects, and tests to grade for each assignment given. If a teacher spends only ten minutes assessing each one, his or her workload increases by 20 hours for each assignment!
- It means these assignments will not receive a thorough assessment, feedback will be limited, and the students’ learning opportunities will be diminished.
- It means student assignments will be simplified, again limiting learning potential.
- It means up to 120 more parents per teacher will demand prompt and thorough communications.
- It means up to 120 more students who may need extra help but teacher time constraints will limit individual attention.
- It means up to 120 more daily attendance and grade entries on an already excessively time-consuming eSIS system.
- The increased load of IEP, 504, and SST meetings for a given teacher (required by law with mandatory attendance for teachers) will require additional conference time which translates to additional compensation for these teachers as less planning time will be available for conferences during the day – another expense.
- Often one of the two planning periods is used to cover school needs such as lunch duty or coverage for an absent teacher. This flexibility will cease to be possible and will require additional substitute teachers, an increased cost to the school system.
- Lakeside does not have the space for each staff member to have his or her own classroom. During planning periods, many staff members relinquish their classroom so another teacher can use it to teach a different class and do their planning elsewhere such as in the Media Center. Given capacity limitations in trailers, staff is already required to move often or work off carts. Teaching six classes each will require additional trailers – another expense.
- Under the proposed budget, teachers could have up to six Preps requiring that they create lesson plans for six different classes (for example: biology, AP biology, gifted, general education, etc). Time for thoughtful preparation will be severely decreased, again at the student’s expense.
- The burden of instruction will fall more on students as peer editing and group work become necessary, diminishing access to the expertise of the teacher.
- Teachers will have less time to mentor students and teachers, offer tutorials, attend school activities, respond to parents, sponsor clubs, coach sports, and assist with planning enrichment events like Black History Month, International Day and Career Day.
- Students will have fewer extra-curricular enrichment opportunities from which to choose because teachers will no longer have time to organize and supervise them.
- Many of our teachers spend their own money for supplies for students (sometimes as much as $1500 - $2000!) to supplement the limited per pupil money our school receives (We are not a Title 1 school). They will no longer be able to afford those “extras” with additional students. Students will then be the ones to suffer.
- Substitute teachers, whose pay will also decrease in this proposed budget, will opt to work in high schools where they only have to teach three classes daily.
- This cost-saving idea will be detrimental to staff morale which ultimately, dangerously impacts instruction.
- In addition to the impact on academic achievement, the proposed 6-1 system creates a disparity in workload between schools on a seven-period day and those on a block schedule.
- Block schedule teachers teach three classes and have a 90-minute planning period while serving 75 - 102 students, less than half the workload!
Lakeside and other schools on a seven-period schedule have demonstrated high academic achievement. This schedule has also provided the opportunity for more students to enjoy vocational and fine arts classes. For that reason, teachers, parents and students chose to keep the seven period schedule. It has proven to be academically sound. The Board’s proposed cost-saving solution is punitive to these high-achieving schools which rise to the top each year in state and national rankings.
If the Board of Education is not asking every DeKalb high school to make this sacrifice, we strongly feel it is patently unfair of the Board to ask four or five high schools to shoulder a 2.4 million dollar burden for the rest of the County. We await your thoughtful response to our position.
Note: There have been comments comparing student performance on the 7 period day vs the block. There may be research showing the different results for each - if anyone has it, please share. However, we DO have research proving how income relates to math performance, as shown in this chart:
Click chart for a larger view.