TWIN BRIDGES – Following their regular September meeting the Twin Bridges School Board received a presentation from Culbertson superintendent Larry Crowder on the merits of the trimester system in terms of scheduling the academic calendar.
Superintendent Chad Johnson explained the discussion about alternative schedules arose from the planning process as for how best to provide an education for students in the district.
“As we were working on implementing our schedule for this year, it became apparent that we at least wanted to discuss some options in our scheduling and how we offer classes and courses and meet the needs of students,” Johnson said.
Crowder explained that the trimester system is simply a different approach to time management in the classroom.
“Still the same look, just a little different twist to it,” he said.
The trimester system still offers the same number of core credits for students, but it spaces them out over what are essentially three semesters instead of two, Crowder said.
“The school year is still the same 180 days,” Crowder said.
The calendar is broken into three 60-day semesters where students take five classes per day, with periods running between 70 and 75 minutes in length. The schedule allows students to have more time in class for guided practice, and teachers have more time to explain lesson plans and utilize different teaching methods such as lectures, group work and projects.
“We special organize our class schedule to where no student has more than three cores in the fall, the winter or in the spring,” said Crowder. “That’s what this is really all about. Restructuring your time with the kids, with the teachers more than they’ve ever see before in one block time.”
The trimester schedule presents students with the opportunity to take more core credits that what they need to fulfill the graduation requirement, Crowder said. “Why shoot for the minimum? We should be encouraging kids to take more.”
The schedule also allows student advisors to tailor class schedules more specifically for students who are believed to be college bound, Crowder explained.
“Our purpose is to get kids ready for post secondary something. I’m not saying every kid is going to go, but this class schedule is based on academic core subjects,” he said. “We’re preparing them for a post secondary event – perhaps college, perhaps junior college, perhaps trade school – where I guarantee you they don’t go to seven or eight classes a day.”
Crowder said the trimester schedule also allows for additional parent / teacher conferences for parent to monitor and be more closely involved in their students progress.
The Twin Bridges school district currently operates on the semester schedule, but some discussion has been held about trying a trimester schedule this spring. Johnson said the purpose of Crowder’s presentation was to explain for the school board how possible alternative schedules would operate.
“This is really just an opportunity for Larry to come in and talk a little bit about his school, what the trimester for him looks like, what it does for his staff, what it does for his community and I think deep down more importantly what it does for his students,” he said.