The Clarke County School Board on Thursday voted to end block scheduling for the system's high schools. Instead of taking four 90-minute classes a day, students will now take five 70-minute classes each day.
The new system will result in more course contact hours, "allowing more depth and breath of course content and coverage," Superintendent Philip Lanoue told the board. Research has shown students have greater focus with fewer courses and less time in each course.
"It's a better model for our students," he said. Students will take seven courses a year.
Years ago, the Board of Education jettisoned the schedule of six periods for the block system, under which courses lasted for only one semester. At the time, school systems around the country were adopting it, convinced it would help students succeed in school.
Research now shows that's not the case, at least not in Clarke County, Lanoue said. For the new system, metrics are built into it that allow for administrators to assess, early on, whether it's producing the desired results.
"Until 100 percent of our sudents are graduating, we can't not change," said Board member Sarah Ellis. "We have to make some changes along the way."