A major change to the way Hahnville High School students schedule classes is on the way for next school year.
As scheduling currently works, students attend four class periods daily toward completing eight courses per year. Alternating “A” and “B” schedules are in place for the students to attend a block of four classes one day, then a second block of four the next.
But the new “four by four” format will see students break those courses up by semester now, taking four everyday courses in the first semester, then shifting to a different group of four classes in the second semester. The intended effect is to allow students to focus their full attention on learning four courses at a time then spreading attention over eight for the entirety of the school year.
It’s not an unfamiliar concept to St. Charles Parish Public Schools, as Destrehan High School has been utilizing this format. Now, the scheduling protocol will be uniform over both parish high schools.
“It’s something that’s been discussed for a few years now,” said Chris Kimball, St. Charles Parish executive director of Secondary Schools, of the format change at Hahnville High. “You take four classes in the fall and four in the spring. It’s a benefit to the student, who can now really hone in on those four subject areas from August to December, then shift their focus to four different ones from January to May.
“So students are still able to take eight courses a year … we’re not cutting back the number of classes, just breaking it up to be more manageable for our students.”
Kimball said one of the most attractive benefits to making the change is it allows for more opportunities for dual enrollment. Because the focus is shifting to four classes daily, there’s added flexibility for a student to, for example, attend a class on a college campus and earn both high school and college credits. Ditto for classes offered at the Satellite Center, or for someone pursuing an industry-based certification.
“It supplies students some post secondary education and employment advantages,” Kimball said. “We will partner with some post secondary institutions and this is a schedule that aligns more with those partners, so there are more avenues to earn college credits and certifications.”
With it, comes a financial benefit. Kimball noted that through grant money, the school system provides funds for students to take dual enrollment courses that can earn college credit. In addition, students earning industry certifications may have the opportunity to go into the workforce right out of high school and garner higher pay as a result.
One other positive of the change is that because it aligns the schedules of both high schools with one another, it can allow for a student at one school who would like to attend a unique class at the other to do so.
“All of it is aimed at increasing opportunities for the students and parents of our communities, and we believe this will go a long way toward doing just that,” Kimball said.