Meeting the needs of student, family, and society in the information age.
North Branch High School in Minnesota, with the blessing of the state legislature, is in the midst of implementing a new 12-month education program designed to meet the needs of students, families, and society in the information age, expand use of school facilities, and create new scheduling options for students.
Students can attend school year round (and complete high school sooner), choose any three of four sessions throughout the year (completing high school in the normal four years), or attend school part time, in any combination of sessions (completing high school on their own terms and their own schedule).
North Branch officials believe the new schedule will offer benefits to many different kinds of students. Students who want to accelerate their education can do so. Those who wish to explore additional areas of the curriculum can now find the time. At-risk students with special requirements can slow their schedule down, or make up graduation requirements. Athletes now have the option of adjusting their schedule during sports seasons so that they do not become over-extended. Dropouts and employed students can adjust school to their life outside school. And, parents will have new options for scheduling vacations.
In planning for the change, the school has paid a lot of attention to the nuts-and-bolts of school administration that frequently impede innovations of this sort.
Funding. North Branch fully expects that students attending more than three terms in any year will generate more than one full-time-equivalent (FTE) student for funding purposes in that particular year -- but will not generate more than four FTEs by graduation time. Once the program has stabilized (when the first class of students enters its senior year) the level of FTEs should average out. The new schedule does not generate additional funding; only the timing of the funding changes.
School Year vs. Fiscal Year. To meet state requirements that the first day of school start after Labor Day, the summer term must run from June to August -- extending from one fiscal year to the next. North Branch officials suggest deferring June expenses and attendance data into the next fiscal year.
Maximum Length of School Year. The school is asking for a waiver of Department of Education regulations specifying that the school year cannot exceed 220 days. The 12-month program entails 230 or more days.
Transportation. Since regular per-student transportation entitlements are based on costs of the traditional school year, North Branch has asked that transportation costs for the additional term be classified as non-regular transportation.
Staffing. School officials plan to provide administrators and teachers for the 12-month program in accordance with contractual agreements and existing administrative procedures.
Postsecondary Enrollment Option. Existing options to permit students in 11th and 12th grades to enroll for credit in postsecondary programs will be honored. A simple clerical task is required to note when a student actually enters 11th grade.
For additional information:
Dr. Michael Trok
38175 Grand Avenue
North Branch, MN 55056