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Parents learned about block schedule at Tuesday meeting

Approximately 40 parents and guardians of Cairo High School students took part in the first of two planned community meetings to discuss a proposed change in the way school classes are scheduled.
The CHS faculty is overwhelmingly in support of moving back to a four x four block schedule, which the school operated under from 1996 until 2010.
School officials made a presentation to the Grady County Board of Education on Jan. 13, but the board has taken no action on the recommended scheduling change.
This week’s meeting will be followed up with a second meeting on Monday, Feb. 2 at 6:30 p.m. at the CHS auditorium.
At Tuesday’s meeting, which was also held at the auditorium at 6:30 p.m., parents and guardians heard from both an academic teacher and a vocational teacher about the benefits of Block Schedules for students.
Math instructor Brooke Reynolds discussed how a block schedule would allow for increased time for instruction as well as review and time to put the material covered to work.
A block schedule would permit students to focus on two academic classes per semester as opposed to four or five, according to Mrs. Reynolds.
“it is a less stressful environment for both students and teachers,” she said.
“With the block schedule we have more learning time, at home projects become school projects and there is less testing,” the CHS math teacher told parents Tuesday night.
CHS Family & Consumer Science teacher Tracey Kelshaw explained how the block schedule would enhance classes with labs.
Ms. Kelshaw also said CHS students would have greater opportunities to take Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) courses.
The high school currently offers 11 pathways in its CTAE course offerings and, according to Ms. Kelshaw, more are being added next year.
Interim CHS Principal Dr. Kermit Gilliard, who is also an assistant superintendent for Grady County Schools, told parents that test scores had not improved when the school shifted to block schedule or when it came off the block schedule.
“When I met with the teachers last week I told them that it doesn’t matter what schedule we’re on, it’s what you do with the schedule you have. I will continue to preach that because what we’re doing right now is not working,” Dr. Gilliard said.
The CHS administration and staff answered a variety of questions asked by parents and guardians in attendance. Questions ranged from how the change will impact course credits for students currently enrolled to how the block affects fine arts to how the change would affect dual enrollment courses.
Less than a handful of questions were posed, but Dr. Gilliard encouraged anyone with additional questions to contact the school or email school personnel.
“We appreciate the community coming out tonight. After all, these are your children and we want you to know what we are trying to do here at Cairo High School,” the interim principal said.
Dr. Gilliard also encouraged other parents to come to next Monday night’s meeting and said that parents who attended this week were welcome to come again next week if they liked.
Grady County Board of Education Chairman Teresa Gee Harris and board members Jeff Worsham and Dave Dumas also attended the meeting Tuesday night. A number of the school’s charter board also attended the parent meeting.

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