4 Core Classes, All 4 Years

By Camaron Abundes
NewsWest 9

ODESSA- A new state requirement, mandates all freshmen starting high school next year to take four years of Math, Science, Social Studies, and Language Arts to graduate. To keep up with the new demands, E.C.I.S.D. started a 16 member committee to decide how to handle the schedule shuffle.

"There is not enough room in the schedule to continue in say band and athletics and then take all of their required courses," said Four by Four Committee Chairman Randy Talley, who adds schools will need to add an extra period for students to fit in the classes, and all the extra things they're involved in.

Currently, students have seven periods and a lunch break, one plan on the table will add 50 minutes to the day, with eight periods plus lunch.

"There are two different schedules that we are considering one starts at 7:45 and ends at 3:55, and the other starts at 8:00 and ends at 4:10," said Talley, who says more than half of all high school students are involved in extra curricular activities.

Even though the committee may want to add class periods to the day, they don't want teachers to pick up the slack.

"What are goal here is to offer an eight period day, but teachers would only have to teach six periods, just like they do now," he said, but Talley admits it will take more teachers, and that could be a challenge for the district both in how to pay and find the extra help.

Other concerns about the state new mandate include whether or not it will contribute to drop out rates.

There is no time frame for when the decision by the committee must be made, but Talley says he is hopeful they can figure out a plan that will both give students more time to learn each day and give teachers more time to prepare.