Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
The Fairfield Community School District Board of Education voted unanimously Monday to allow Fairfield High School to switch from a semester to a trimester schedule beginning next school year.
The change affects just the high school, and it comes with a change to the length of the school’s class periods as well.
Instead of dividing the year into two halves, the high school will divide the year into three parts: the first part will be from the start of school on Aug. 23 to Nov. 16; the second from Nov. 17 to Feb. 25, and the third from Feb. 28 to the last day of school on May 27, 2022.
Though classes will run for one third of the year instead of one half, the class periods will be longer than they were last year when the school had eight periods lasting 44 minutes each. Under the new plan, there will be six classes per day, each lasting 65 minutes.
Fairfield High School Principal Brian Stone said he and others at the high school recommended this change to the board after receiving input from students, teachers and staff. He said the new trimester plan is a “happy medium” between the old eight-period schedule and the block schedule the high school adopted this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To reduce the amount of contact the high school students would have with each other in the hallway changing classes, the school adopted a block schedule where each class was two and a half hours long and lasted just a few weeks instead of half the year. Stone said the feedback from students was that they liked being able to concentrate on just a few classes at once, but they felt that two and a half hours was a long time to spend in one class.
Stone said the music department is a bigger winner with this new schedule because it will allow band to meet every day and choir to meet multiple times throughout the day. In the pre-pandemic eight-period format, music students had band one day and then choir the next.
Band and choir have suffered the most during the current block schedule because there was no time for them built into the schedule, so the band and choir directors have to take students out of another class for 20 minutes once a week and usually just six students or fewer at a time.
“The new schedule will give students greater flexibility, and will give them fewer classes to manage at one time,” Stone said.
Stone said the new schedule aligns nicely with opportunities to take courses through Indian Hills Community College. The school day at the high school will start at 8:10 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m.