SBDM features large community presence due to block scheduling discussion


by Nina Rennard

The Dec. 11 SBDM meeting featured many members of HC’s community expressing their concerns about block scheduling during the public comment section of the meeting. HC Principal Paul Little has been pushing for a change to block schedule for the 2021-2022 school year, yet many are opposed to the possible schedule change. These individuals took the opportunity to speak at the most recent SBDM meeting, presenting their reasons for keeping a traditional schedule.

“We have so many good things [at HC],” HC English teacher Jessica Andrews said. “We can of course do things better, but [we need to know] what are our goals. How will Block impact each goal, what are the pros and cons, and what’s the rush?”

Teachers and parents both have emphasized the fast pace push they felt was occuring, but Little emphasized that he was receiving no pressure from anyone to propose the change.

“I have not been pressured ever to lead us in this direction,” HC Principal Paul Little said. “It came from me, this little brain, and my heart as I started looking at some of this data.”

With a block schedule, students will be able to take two additional classes for a total of eight each year, allowing their schedules to be filled with more electives. However, teachers see this as a negative for high achieving students.

“Mental health wise, I just talked to an AP teacher who has a student in their class… and he is taking six AP classes, and he is struggling,” HC Science teacher Lora Thompson said, “and if that child has eight classes, then he will take eight AP classes. We have lots of kids who will do that if the doors open.”

One of the main reasons many believe why Little is pushing for block schedule is the school’s low score in career readiness compared to its higher score in college readiness.

“Career readiness was not a driving force,” Little said. “The big [reason] was more opportunity for every single student in the building.”

Another point of concern was the freshmen failing rate, which lowered HC’s graduation-rate and brought up larger concerns for how students were performing with a traditional schedule and less amount of classes.

“Our kids have 24 chances to get 22 credits,” Little said. “We do have a high failure rate. That’s why we have the lowest graduation rate of the three schools (HC, Lafayette, and Dunbar).”

While many teachers spoke at the meeting, concerned parents voiced their opinions as well.

“I am strongly opposed to changing Henry Clay to an eight course block schedule,” HC Parent Dr. Margaret Readdy said. “Henry Clay is known for its high level of college ready students. Block schedule would change this.”

Little ended the meeting with words to justify his proposal.

“My goal is to provide this community with as much information as needed to make a well thought out decision,” Little said. “My driving motivation is to do what’s best for all students. I don’t have any other reason to suggest this schedule other than I truly believe in it.”

The next SBDM meeting will be Jan 8 where the council will further discuss block scheduling.