Councilman Kach Continues the Fight to Restore Hereford High’s Block Scheduling
Third District School Board member, Kathleen Causey, and I continue to advocate for the return of the 4 period block schedule to Hereford High School, and for allowing all County high schools the option of adopting this schedule . Just recently, I sent the following letter to the Interim Superintendent advocating for this change.
January 22, 2018
Dear Superintendent White,
As I am sure you are aware, many Hereford High School parents, teachers and students continue to strongly support the semester schedule of four classes of 90 minutes each day used prior to the 2015-16 school year. When former superintendent Dallas Dance moved to suspend that schedule and substitute an 8 course schedule, parents and educators were quick to point out the advantages of the 4-period semester schedule with the hope of stopping the change from becoming effective.
Predicated on inflated mobility rates and a one-size- fits-all approach, your predecessor’s decision to implement a non-semesterized, eight-class period schedule has imperiled opportunities for both highly functioning and special needs students alike. The 4 period semester block schedule, a pillar of the nationally recognized academic success of Hereford High School for over two decades, permitted the very type of intensive learning environment that propelled Hereford into the top 500 among the 21,000 schools rated by US News—to say nothing of its even more astounding top 250 rank at the time for STEM. To be sure, Dr. Dance’s decision to discard Hereford’s, semester block schedule has inhibited students from rapid advancement in a variety of courses, including foreign languages, STEM, etc..
At the time the 4-period semester schedule was eliminated, it was announced that there would be a study and evaluation of the new 8 course schedule comparing it to the 4 period day semester schedule in terms of the advantages and disadvantages of both. To date, that study has not taken place. Therefore, today I am asking that study commence now, so that, once and for all, we can ascertain the educational advantages of the different schedules.
Furthermore, I am asking that all high schools in Baltimore County be given the option of adopting the 4-period semester schedule which involves no additional cost to the county. In addition to parents, staff and students at Hereford High School, other high school parents, staff and students in Lutherville, Timonium and Catonsville have expressed support to me for allowing their high schools being given the option of adopting this schedule.
Advantages to the 4 period schedule include the freedom it gives students to accelerate their education, such as taking Algebra I and II in one year and freeing resource teachers to be available to help developmentally disabled students who needed extra assistance with learning.
In other words, the 4-period schedule works well for both developmentally disabled students, who greatly benefit by having more learning time, and other students who can learn at their own pace. It gives students, especially the gifted ones, the opportunity to progress at a faster rate in their areas of interest, whether it be the humanities, science, or math.
Today, the 8 course structure is forcing many students to choose between sports and their academic endeavors. When students had four courses it was more realistic for students to keep up with their academic schedule and participate in sports. With eight it is much more difficult.
Frankly, I can see no reason why students should be prohibited from gaining the advantages of the 4 period semester schedule. We owe it to Baltimore County high school students to provide the best educational opportunities possible. I believe that giving county high schools the flexibility to adopt, what many believe, is the most educationally superior schedule for students goes hand in hand with providing the best education.
I am anxious to learn of your views on this subject. I would appreciate an opportunity to speak with you in person about this matter.
Councilman, District 3