The 2014 school year brings with it a new type of scheduling for Stillwater Area High School, called the “Tree and Limb.” Outlined in the registration guide, the new schedule allows for four classes to be taken in the first three hours of the day, with two, 90 minute periods that alternate days in place of the four classes before. This new plan will either allow students to take more classes, or have more time in the school day to relax or study, whilst still staying on pace for graduation.
Dennis Lindsay, SAHS director of bands, and one of the creators of the plan, described its purpose.
“The intent is to have more time in the day, so students have more free time and more sleep at home,” Lindsay explained.
One of the other reasons for the new schedule is to make the school day more like a college setting for university bound upperclassmen.
“In college, the time you spend in a classroom in only a part of the class, and much of it is outside or online. The idea was to make a more college like atmosphere,” Lindsay said.
The new schedule has been on the drawing books for nearly 10 years, but was postponed until a few years ago.
“The discussion started back in the 2004-05 time frame, when myself and several teachers asked how we could help students by developing a better, less stressful schedule,” Lindsay explained. “When we started with flex schedules and senior elective the discussion came up again to make a schedule with less class time, and more thinking time,” Lindsay added.
After the strategic plan of 2011 (vision 2014) was released for the district, a committee was formed and scheduling options where discussed.
“There was a scheduling committee of teachers in all subjects last year to put this schedule into service,” Lindsay said. “We looked at scheduling as one of the goals, for alternate schedules, we wanted to give more choice to students,” Lindsay added.
Although currently only a few teachers at the school are using the schedule next year, Lindsay hopes to see it grow in the future, and expand throughout the school.
“Right now there are several classes that are doing it, I would hope about 30 percent of courses eventually will use the schedule,” Lindsay said. “If the first year works, then I think in the second year, it will expand quickly,” Lindsay added.
Lindsay explained why he believes the discussion about schedules to be important.
“Its all about time. The only resource we can easily control is time, and it is important to look at the best way to control and organize our time to best meet the needs of teachers and students,” Lindsay said.