Following the intended return to in-person learning for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year, the Rockwood School District has decided to switch from the quarter system back to the semester system for the spring semester.
Dr. Lisa Counts, Assistant Superintendent of Supervision of Schools, said that the semester system is a better fit for in-person learning when the difficulty of courses is taken into consideration; however, the decision about the daily schedule (blocked, standard, etc.) has not been decided yet.
“We only switched to a quarter system because we knew we were starting the school year totally virtual. At this moment in time we are not planning for an all virtual start second semester. So, therefore, we believe that we should go back to the semester format,” Counts said. “We recognize that there will still be students who are online, but we are also going to consider that when we look at the daily schedule. The actual schedule hasn’t been developed, but we believe that spanning the seven courses over the semester is probably more feasible for high school content, just because of the rigor, AP classes, and to do that in a quarter system is a little more challenging.”
Senior Ryan Valayil said that he trusts the district’s judgement and sees benefits to both methods of instruction.
“Honestly, I’m fine with the switch back occurring if that’s the best option for students. For myself, the quarter is easier because it allows me to manage my workload a little better especially since I’m taking a lot of rigorous courses this year,” Valayil said. “However, for AP exams, having the semester system would be more beneficial for students because it would be easier for most students, including myself, to prepare for AP exams because we’re going to have the opportunity to review in all seven classes.”
Should Rockwood have to return to an all-virtual learning environment, Counts said this decision is open to reevaluation.
“If we start the second semester in-person, we would stay with the semester system. If any point throughout it there was a closure, we would probably have to continue with that,” Counts said. “If between now and the start of second semester we have to go to an all-closure, then we would consider possibly going back to a quarter system.”