• A review of our high school schedules

    Based on recommendations in the April 2019 Curriculum Audit, we have begun a review of graduation requirements and bell schedules at Coeur d’Alene High School and Lake City High School. The two schools currently operate on different schedules. CHS uses a traditional schedule (6 class periods each day), while LCHS uses a block schedule (8 class periods spread over two days).

    Over time, the two schedule structures have allowed the schools to develop differences in their course offerings and graduation requirements. CHS offers 139 courses, while LCHS offers 206 courses. Lake City offers six advanced courses that are not available at CHS. For graduation, both schools require the same number of credits in core classes (English, math, science, history, government and so on). Lake City High School, however, requires 24 elective credits for graduation – twice as many as CHS requires.

    One concern is that students have considerably different opportunities depending on which school they attend. This was identified as a priority issue in the Curriculum Audit. The auditors concluded that varying graduation requirements limit access to potential future career courses in the area of elective choices for students who attend CHS. They stated, “Students who excel in their coursework should be allowed opportunities to do so by having access to relatively the same expectations and course offerings.” The audit recommended the District provide equal access to comparable programs, services, and opportunities to impact student achievement.

    We plan to address the differences in graduation requirements as we refine our new Portrait of a Graduate and align it with the new Strategic Plan we are developing for the District. The goal is to resolve this for the benefit of everyone, not one school over the other.

    What does that mean for the future of the traditional schedule at CHS or the block schedule at LCHS? We simply don’t know yet. We have much work ahead of us – information to gather, models to explore, feedback to collect from you, students, teachers and others. As we analyze this complex issue, we also need to consider dual credit offerings, the professional technical opportunities at the Kootenai Technical Education Campus, and shared staff between the two high schools. We are proceeding with care and consideration for the implications for all students, today and in the future.


    Assistant Superintendent Trina Caudle and high school principals have researched graduation requirements and high school bell schedules, and identified the advantages and disadvantages of each comprehensive high school’s current bell schedule.

    As the District approaches the final iteration of the Portrait of a Graduate, a larger committee of administrators, counselors and teachers will be established to research and recommend changes to the District’s graduation requirements to better align requirements and curriculum with the Portrait of a Graduate, provide consistency of requirements between the high schools and ensure equitable opportunities between comprehensive high schools through a common bell schedule.

    For example, communication is one area identified in the Portrait of a Graduate. The district may choose to integrate communication standards across grade levels K-12 or within specific courses instead of offering a standalone course. This may lead to flexibility in elective credits or in developing additional graduation requirements. Below is a comparison between general graduation requirements. 

    Graduation Requirements Comparison

     
     

    School Subjects

    State Minimum

    CHS/VHS

    LCHS

     

    English

    8

    8

    8

     

    Speech*

    1

    1

    1

     

    Math**

    6

    6

    6

     

    Science***

    6

    6

    6

     

    World History

    0

    2

    2

     

    US History

    2

    2

    2

     

    Government

    2

    2

    2

     

    Economics

    1

    1

    1

     

    Humanities

    2

    2

    2

     

    Health

    1

    1

    1

     

    PE

    0

    1

    1

     

    Technology

    0

    1

    1

     

    Senior Project

    0

    1

    1

     

    Electives

    17

    12

    24

     

    Total Credits****

    46

    46

    58

     

    *The Speech credit can be obtained through other courses that meet the state speech requirement as approved by the local district.

    **Two credits of Math must be taken in the last year of high school with some exemptions identified by IDAPA rule.

    ***Four Science credits must include lab based courses.

    ****Other state requirements include Senior Project, College Entrance Exam, Civics Test, high school credits earned at the middle level, and offering students at least one Advanced Opportunity (Dual Credit, Advanced Placement, IB, or CTE).


    The Curriculum Audit conducted by CMSi last April called out "significant variances in course offerings between Coeur d’Alene High School and Lake City High School. Lake City High School offers 48 more courses to its students than Coeur d’Alene High School." (Exhibit 3.4.2, p. 189)

    After the audit the Curriculum and Assessment Department cleaned up the Course Master for each high school. During the process ISEE course codes for Career Technical Education Courses were updated, courses no longer taught were eliminated and a district-wide course catalog was developed. Students selected courses in the spring based on graduation requirements and electives available for the school in which they were enrolled. Schools used this information to develop the master schedule for this school year.

    In analyzing the master schedules, we found that both schools offer 90 common courses, 49 courses are unique to CHS, and 116 courses are unique to LCHS. After common graduation requirements are established, significant work will need to be done to align course offerings.

     

    Subject Area

    Identical Courses at CHS and LCHS

    Number of Courses Unique to CHS

    Number of Courses Unique to LCHS

    English Language Arts

    18

    2

    14

    Mathematics

    11

    4

    6

    Science

    10

    1

    10

    Social Studies

    8

    7

    7

    World Languages

    15

    11

    6

    Physical Education

    3

    3

    10

    CTE

    8

    7

    35

    Fine/Performing Arts

    13

    13

    20

    School Services

    4

    1

    8

    TOTAL

    90

    49

    116

     

    While considering graduation requirements and course alignment, the committee and district will also need to consider a definition of rigor and its implications regarding the implementation of the district’s instructional program.  For example, both high schools offer a course titled School Aide. This course is used for student aides who assist office staff or student aides who assist teachers. Depending upon one’s definition of rigor this course may or may not meet that definition. At CHS 63 students are enrolled in School Aide for 1st Semester over 6 class periods.  For LCHS it is 338 students over 8 class periods. High numbers of students in courses like School Aide not only bring up questions regarding rigor, but also questions regarding having too many choices or whether or not students are guided to making good choices when considering courses that impact their future. 

    Along with graduation requirements and course offerings, Trina Caudle and high school principals gathered research and feedback from administrators and counselors regarding the traditional and A/B Block schedule.  Attached you will find a summary document for each school. The document includes feedback and recent research regarding each type of schedule from Hanover Research. As the research suggests our next step will be to survey students, parents and staff regarding their perceptions of the district’s high school bell schedules as it is critical that we consider all voices.