Iberia Parish high school students will be seeing a major change next school year after a vote at Wednesday night’s Iberia Parish School Board meeting to move away from block scheduling for parish high schools.
Superintendent of Schools Carey Laviolette said the board voted to change the high school schedules from a four-block schedule to a seven period schedule.
The change comes after block scheduling had been implemented in parish schools for more than 20 years.
Laviolette said the needs of the students, as well as the accountatiblity required by educators has changed to the point that a seven-period schedule makes more sense.
“We’re required to teach a Tier I curriculum in which the lessons are 50 minutes long,” Laviolette said. “So in a block schedule we have to teach two lessons per day to keep up. It’s becoming more and more difficult for students to be exposed to all of the content for which they are tested at the end of the semester.”
Laviolette said that students take the annual LEAP Test in November, and aren’t exposed to all of the content in the test as a result of block scheduling.
Another reason for the change is a school body that learns differently from past generations.
“Our students grew up with electronics since they were born,” Laviolette said. “They like things in quick, short chunks. A block schedule requires us to teach them in 90 minutes.
“Moving forward, we’re going to establish a district transition team and school transition team to ensure we have a smooth transition.”
The scheduling change seems to reflect other Acadiana school districts. Laviolette said the St. Martin School District is the only one in Acadiana besides Iberia that still uses a block scheduling system. She added that St. Mary Parish has exhibited substantial growth in the one year that they made the change to a seven-period schedule.
“Our research in the state shows about 24 percent of the parishes were still on a strict 4-by-4 block schedule,” Laviolette said.
There has been trepidation to the move, but the superintendent said the school district will do everything in its power to make sure the transition is as seamless as possible.
“I think many (parents and students) are fearful of change, but once we go through the transition and ensure that their needs and concerns will be addressed, we will do what we always do in Iberia Parish, which is to educate students to the best to our ability.”