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Churchill Models Common Schedule

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EUGENE, Ore. — There seems to be a growing division at 4J. Students, teachers and staff are concerned about the new high school common schedule.

While the district is planning to move all of the schools onto the same schedule this fall, one school has already made the transition.

When the bell rings at Churchill High School, students have exactly five minutes to get to their next class.

Passing time is shorter because as of this year there are more classes to get to in one day.

“When we started, we were still adjusting to the schedule,” said Kim Finch, Churchill High School Principal.

It’s part of Churchill’s new three-by-five schedule–a routine the district plans to implement in every high school. It’s a trimester system and each day there are five, 70-minute classes.

“It actually a lot like the university system, except the university calls it quarters,” Finch said.

And Principal Kim Finch says compared to the old semester system where kids were alternating between eight classes every other day, this new routine is a better transition for the students and an even better use of resources.

“We had less classroom time than other schools in the nation, so our Advanced Placement teachers were pressed to get all that content in on the number of days that we had,” Finch said.

It’s relieving headaches for not only the students but the teachers as well.

“One-we get to see them every day and two, 70 minutes is just perfect,” said math teacher Theresa Hilkey.

And having classes every day gets kids more prepared.

“A lot of our students are more organized. It’s stopped their procrastination. A lot of them say, ‘I can’t procrastinate anymore,’ which some of them say it’s a bad thing, but they know in the long run it’s a much better trait for them,” Hilkey said.

Churchill says it’s a win-win. And while parents at other schools might be hesitant to the change, school administrators there say if bells across the school district are ringing simultaneously, then everyone can move forward in the same direction.

“Teaching a 70 minutes, we’re going to be able to talk at different schools and really be able to talk about our teaching practice. So we’re looking forward to professional development extensively when we’re all on the same schedule,” Finch said.

Another big plus for Churchill is it’s been decades since a majority of students have been fully scheduled. The number of students fully scheduled rose from 19 percent last year to 67 percent now.

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