Northwest NEWS

November 16, 1998


School survey asks about change to semester system

   The Northshore School District is surveying students, parents and staff to find out what they think about changing from trimesters to semesters at the junior and senior high school levels.
   Students, teachers and administrators in the district's four high schools and six middle schools were given surveys asking their preferences for scheduling, and parents will have an opportunity to comment via a phone poll through the end of the month.
   Vicki Sherwood, Inglemoor High School principal, said looking at state standards, a semester system would give students more time to learn and demonstrate proficiency in subjects. She said Inglemoor's staff has been discussing the idea for about a year.
   The district also says semesters would require fewer registrations, and teachers would get to know students better. But the trimester system, with 60-day classes, works well with the length of summer school and adds more variety to classes. Currently, the school year is divided into three parts.
   While most districts in the state have switched over to semesters, Northshore has operated on the trimester system since 1970. One disadvantage of trimesters is that it takes two trimester classes to equal one semester class.
   Parents can call 1-800 214-5830 to take the three minute poll. When asked for a poll number, key in 4577. The phone line will be open 24-hours a day between 6 a.m. Nov. 18 and midnight Nov. 30.
   Once surveys and poll results have been compiled, information will be reviewed by principals and Executive Director of Secondary Education Harry Vanikiotis. A recommendation will then be made to Superintendent Karen Forys.
   "If we make a change, it has to be system wide," said Pamela Steele, district spokeswoman. If a change is made, the earliest it could go into effect is next school year.
   The district is also working to better align report cards with state standards as well as review its graduation requirements.