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Teacher, parent share thoughts on upcoming middle school schedules in Clark County

Posted at 5:36 PM, Aug 04, 2020

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Online learning will be the reality when Clark County School District students go back to school. Middle-school students will have to adjust to something called “block schedules,” which are four periods of coursework with one day dedicated to independent study at some schools.

“At school sites, we’ve been working to make this schedule the best it can be all summer long, so it isn’t new to us.”

Cris Baker is a learning strategist at Mack Middle School. She says the district has given each middle school discretion on how they want to schedule classes. CCSD has mandated middle school students to get 120 minutes of real-time learning every week for each of their courses. Baker says her school decided to implement a lab day on Fridays.

RELATED STORY: All CCSD students will distance learn full-time to start school year amid COVID-19 concerns

“Some schools are calling it a lab day. Some schools are calling it independent study. It’s not ‘Go do your own thing and play video games if you feel like it’,” she said.

Baker says the lab day will involve required reading and assignments and allows teachers to focus on individual student needs depending on how they’re understanding the curriculum.

“So, if a student needs extra time, they’ll go with math tutoring. If one student is going far and above, they’ll go into beyond math to push them that much forward," she said.

Rebecca Garcia is a parent of two CCSD middle schoolers. She says the block schedule allows her kids to spend more time with their classes.

RELATED STORY: CCSD full-time virtual learning proposal leaves many families wondering what to do

“My son’s immediate response was: ‘So I take four classes, but I spend more time in those four classes. That makes so much more sense, rather than trying to do eight classes’,” she said.

Baker says parents should keep tabs on what their kids are up to in their online classes.

"'What did you get assigned for your lab today? How long have you been doing that?’ And asking questions," she said.

CCSD teachers will begin their training and development on Aug. 10 while students return to class virtually on Aug. 24.