MAHOMET — Parents of Mahomet-Seymour Junior High students were notified this week of some major changes at the school next year — changes that are still evolving, administrators say.
Next year the school will transition from a junior-high model to one with the elements of a middle school.
At a traditional junior high, students' class schedules are similar to those found in high schools, with an emphasis on individual subjects. At a middle school, the focus is on learning across the curriculum, and students are often grouped into teams.
Junior-high Principal Heather Landrus said the changes were sparked by several factors, particularly the knowledge that the new Common Core curriculum was going to change the landscape — and that schools were going to have to change in order to meet expectations for college and career readiness.
Plus, overcrowding demanded a fresh look at students' and teachers' schedules. Enrollment went up last year, but staffing didn't.
Although the plan calls for hiring new math teachers only, it "allows us to impact the class sizes for all the academic areas," said M-S Director of Instruction Mary Weaver.
The new plan is centered on the "teaming" concept, in which each of the school's three grade levels is separated into two teams. Landrus said one of the teams would likely be larger, with about 120 students, with a second group numbering around 70 or 80.
Each team will be instructed by a specific pool of faculty. With that model in place, "the teachers get to know the students very well," Landrus said.
One goal of the plan is to increase the amount of time students spend in class. The school day will remain the same length, but class periods will increase from 38 to 40 minutes. The number of periods, meanwhile, will drop from 10 to 9.