Preparations are underway for FHS 7-period day

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Since the passing of Question 1 of the operating levy on Nov. 5, Faribault Public Schools staff and administration have been working diligently behind the scenes as they prepare to institute a seven-period schedule at Faribault High School beginning next fall.

Director of teaching and learning Ryan Krominga and FHS principal Jamie Bente met with the entire high school staff Nov. 13. They reviewed a potential schedule that would see each class period go from 54 minutes to 48 minutes, opening up time for an extra class period each day while keeping the start time at 8:15 a.m. and dismissal at 3:15 p.m. The schedule also features a 51-minute flex period that covers homeroom and lunch.

At last month’s meeting, the high school staff also reviewed some examples of the types of career pathways that will be implemented beginning in the fall of 2020. Each pathway will feature a succession of three courses built upon a specific program of study like manufacturing and engineering, information technology or health care. Krominga and Bente are currently reviewing 59 course proposals from current staff members to determine which courses fit as part of the new pathways and best promote college and career readiness.

The new course offerings that will be available in the fall of 2020 will be a combination of those proposed by current staff and those taught by future hires who specialize in certain areas of study that fall within the new pathways.

“Our focus next year is going to be on getting the introductory courses set up, as well as some of those intermediate courses that aren’t part of career pathways, but they’re courses that kids should have now that we have more options in our schedule,” Krominga said. “The career development piece is going to take a couple of years to roll out as we set up a conscious sequence of courses for kids to take. We want to give them lots of options within that sequence.”

While these classes will provide a couple new elective options for juniors and seniors, they will have the biggest impact on incoming freshmen. The seven-period schedule means students in the Class of 2024 will be able to take eight extra electives during their four years at FHS. In addition to the new pathway classes, students will have room in their schedules to delve into classes that fall into existing pathways like automotive, teacher cadet and business, take health class during the school year instead of over the summer, and participate in community-based learning opportunities like internships by the time they’re seniors.

Freshmen will also take a new class called Freshman Seminar where they will build basic life and organizational skills, learn about potential career fields and determine what other classes will be a good fit for them.

“Right now our counselors have to go into classes. We don’t have any designated time to have those conversations,” Krominga said. “Freshman Seminar will be not just about career and college, but how to navigate registration and how we can help our ninth-graders be successful in high school.”

Krominga and Bente will continue to develop the list of new course offerings leading up to high school registration in late January. Student interest will then be the primary factor in determining which classes run next fall.

Staff members will have a course curriculum development workshop in April and spend additional time on course development. Curriculum writing will take place over the summer leading up to the implementation of the new courses next fall.

“Everything is going smoothly,” Krominga said. “Our staff is really excited to get the seven-period day in place so our students can start seeing the benefits.”

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