High School Schedule Adds Seventh Bell

New High School Schedule Adds Seventh Bell, Gives Students More Flexibility
Posted on 02/12/2019
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new high school bell scheduleMore opportunities for Lakota high school students is on the horizon. As registration season opened at the end of January, the district announced expanded options for its seventh class period.

Beginning in the fall, students in grades 10-12 will have the option to take advantage of Lakota’s expanding course offerings by extending their school day by one period. Traditionally, students at the main high school campuses may enroll in six courses, with an option to take zero bell for a seventh. Through zero bell, students have only been able to choose between an English or social studies course, severely limiting their options. Now, classes will be offered based on student request and district resources.

In addition to the traditional early start schedule through zero bell, both Lakota West and East high schools will introduce an alternative seventh bell for students who prefer to extend their school day. Students choosing this option would start their day at first bell and finish at 3:40 p.m.

“It’s a really good thing that we’ll have next year,” said Lakota West junior Kati Zepahua, who plans to take advantage of senior flex in the fall to allow more time for extracurricular activities and her job. While senior flex is not new this year, being able to schedule it during the online registration process is. With regards to an expanded seven bell day, Zepahua hopes her fellow students will recognize the benefits. “It’s really going to help people if they take advantage of it.”

Donnie Vossler, a sophomore at Lakota East, is taking advantage of the expanded opportunities by registering for Latin in the fall. “I think this is a great idea,” he said. “It gives a lot more broad options for what you want to learn and experience.”

Since last spring, district leaders, staff and students have been working together to reimagine the high school experience. Teachers and students collaborated during a three-day LakotaNEXT design challenge in November, working to answer the question: How might we design a prototype of a high school master schedule that fosters the core principles of personalized learning?

“At Lakota, we offer a student-centered approach to learning,” said Keith Koehne, executive director of curriculum and instruction. “We are listening to students and what they want in their education,” he continued. “Not only will it give students a more flexible schedule and more choice in taking a seven period day,” he continued, “but it opens up opportunities for us, as a district, to continue to grow our course offerings.”

One such example is the new Lakota Cyber Academy, which will start in the fall. A small pilot is taking place now. This new pathway, which is made possible through a partnership with Cincinnati-based Belcan LLC, will enable students to not only learn about cyber security, but also earn industry certifications. “This program will open doors to our students after graduation, should they choose to continue their studies in higher education, enlist in the military or enter the workforce,” noted Koehne.

Colin McQueen, a junior at Lakota East this year, is looking forward to the Cyber Sprint class for next year’s seniors. “I’m really interested in computer science,” he said. “Cyber security is a good place to start.” McQueen plans to open his own video gaming company eventually and will use a career in cyber security as a stepping stone on that path.

“We’re excited to offer more flexibility to our students,” said Superintendent Matthew Miller. “This is another example of listening to our stakeholders,” he continued, noting that parents, students and staff have requested more opportunities and flexibility. “The new structure also opens the doors to allow for real-world learning such as our internship program,” he continued. “It’s another example of personalizing learning to meet the needs of our students.”