The Cd’A looks at the disparity in high school


The Coeur d’Alene School District Board of Trustees will meet today to discuss the findings of recent community feedback on an equity issue between two high schools.

Over the past three years, the district has analyzed and reached out to the community for feedback on uneven graduation requirements, class opportunities, and instructional time in core classes among Coeur d’Alene high schools. and Lake City.

A 2019 curriculum audit flagged differences between schools as a significant equity issue. Spokesman Scott Maben said that 10 years earlier the issue had also been flagged by another program audit.

The variance stems from the different schedules that each high school follows. LCHS students follow a block schedule, taking eight classes per semester, while CHS students follow a traditional six-period schedule, taking six classes per semester.

With the block schedule, LCHS students attend four 1.5-hour classes per day, alternating classes per day. The period schedule calls for CHS students to take approximately six one-hour classes per day.

Due to the schedule difference, LCHS students take two additional courses per semester, allowing them to take more courses of their choice. However, CHS students end up spending more hours in core courses such as math, English, science, and history.

This leads to CHS students graduating with the state’s minimum requirement of 46 credits, while LCHS students graduating with 58 credits due to additional electives. LCHS students end up taking 12 more electives to graduate than CHS students.

The LCHS offered 116 courses unique to the school, while the CHS offered 49. physics, 28 more vocational and technical courses, seven more fine arts/performing arts courses, and seven additional academic services.

Maben said that while some people say the foundation courses are the most important and CHS students get more class time in these courses, many LCHS families appreciate the flexibility and options to take courses. additional elective courses so that students can begin to explore career opportunities and be exposed to a wider variety of subjects and subjects.

Data based on grade 11 exit exams shows that over the past five years, CHS students performed 2-30% higher in English and 13-33% higher in math. The SAT and AP scores of CHS students were also on average higher than those of LCHS students.

However, the scores don’t necessarily reflect different schedules, Maben said, and can be affected by other factors. According to the district’s high school alignment committee, many of Idaho’s top 10 top-performing schools use the block schedule.

To address the equity issue between courses and requirements, administrators were asked in February to consider aligning schedules between the two high schools by either selecting a current schedule, implementing a new schedule, or maintaining current schedules and finding other ways to address class concerns. offers and graduation requirements.

Administrators asked the district to solicit feedback again, which will be shared at Monday’s workshop.

In December, a committee reviewing a previous round of feedback with 766 participants found benefits for each schedule.

Of these, committee members found that some participants favored the block schedule used by the LCHS because it offers:

• The ability to choose from a wide variety of choices

• Long periods of time to explore a subject in depth

• More lesson preparation time for teachers

Sixty percent of survey participants also selected the block schedule as the best fit for their priorities.

The committee found that those in favor of the periodic schedule found the following persuasive:

• A savings of over $600,000 if both schools were on schedule for the period

• More teaching time per course per semester with 28 additional teaching hours in each course over the block schedule due to fewer courses taken per semester

• Staff prioritized being able to see students every day

• Locally, students on the period schedule significantly outperformed their peers

In the last round of community feedback, the district heard from more than 2,200 participants, more than half of whom said it was very important that both high schools have the same graduation requirements, and almost 30% said it was somewhat important.

Almost half of the participants were convinced that the two schools should offer similar courses, including electives, and more than 30% said it was somewhat important. However, more than half of the participants think it is not important that the two secondary schools operate on the same lesson schedule.

“There are strong feelings on both sides,” Maben said. “These school communities are confident that the schedules they have are working.”

Maben said they weren’t under pressure for the school board to make a decision in May because if any changes were to happen, they wouldn’t be implemented until fall 2023. However, he said that if the trustees decided to make a change, they would want to see that decision made within the next six months to give the district time to prepare.

The board will meet in executive session at 2:30 p.m. today, then enter the workshop at 4:00 p.m. in the Midtown Center meeting room on North Fifth Street. Seating is capped at 72 by the Fire Marshal. Other items on the agenda include an overview of the budget and bond capacity.

Information from the most recent round of community feedback on high school schedules and requirements will be made publicly available on the school district’s website at cdaschools.org following the workshop.

photo

Jack L. Goldstein