The Trimester Trend

By: Beth Shayne
By: Beth Shayne

As so many education debates do in St. Johns, this one began with money.

"We have to reduce costs," explains St. Johns principal Mark Palmer.

It may seem backward, but more semesters will actual require fewer teachers. If the trimester schedule passes a board vote on Monday, they'll cut staff by two next year.

They'll have five periods each day for 70 minutes each. It’s three semesters, 15 courses in all. It gives students room for one extra elective

"I'm in band, art, multiple things like that," explains junior Kallie Sternburgh. She was resistant at first, but understanding the extra options, now, she's on board.

"I'm not able to fit 'em all in, so it's actually better [the new] way."

Eaton Rapids is already committed to going tri next year. It was about making high school more rigorous.

"We thought how are we gonna do that in a six period day without more staff, without more cash," explains principal Dave Johnson.

They considered the concerns, the fast pass of courses, and a learning gap. Students take most classes for just two of three semesters, so would they forget the necessarily material between terms? The research says no.

"There is a loss, but kids quickly recover that lost learning and progress," Johnson says.

Owosso, Grand Ledge, and Maple Valley are also looking into the trimester option. Ovid-Elsie is already using trimesters.


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