Today’s Contributor: Andrew McCann
Is there anything more frustrating than schedule fiascos? This year featured the biggest student schedule conundrum I’ve faced in my educational career. Here at Eastside Memorial, the 2018-2019 school year was the pilot year for the Early College Program. In case you don’t know, the Early College Program is an opportunity for sophomores, juniors, and seniors to gain college credit by taking humanities courses at ACC while still receiving the necessary credits to graduate high school. The ultimate goal, pending all classes are passed, is for high schoolers to earn an Associate’s Degree at the same time they earn a high school degree. Don’t worry, I too am incredibly jealous I did not have this opportunity when I was in high school.
The only downside of this, however, is the logistics in the scheduling. The Early Collegers spend the first half of the day here at Eastside Memorial and the second half of the day at ACC-Eastview or vice versa depending on it being an A/B day. This means that first half of the day here must be the required core classes in Math, English, Science, and Social Studies. Accomplishable on paper with those four classes split over the A/B day schedule, but then you throw in the wrinkle of Pre-AP classes. All of my sophomore students in the Early College Program are Pre-AP students. As it goes, my only section of English II Pre-AP is 3rd period when they are all at ACC. But because they all must have an English class during their sophomore year for their high school diploma, they were spread out across of my regular English II courses. This meant in every English II course of mine, I had a few students who were supposed to be in English II Pre-AP.
With no moving around in the master schedule possible, I had to figure out what I could do to deliver two separate classes inside my one classroom. I obviously couldn’t clone myself, so I thought and I thought and I thought.
Finally, it dawned on me like the grace of a heavenly gift. BLEND. I could have the Pre-AP students enrolled in my English II Pre-AP BLEND course. After working with Admin to create the stacked courses, we were all set.
For the rest of the school year, the Early Collegers would be in an English II class, but would log into BLEND to see their daily tasks and activities they would complete on their own. This did create a lot of work on my end to ensure everything I did during the actual English II Pre-AP course during 3rd period was translated onto the Pre-AP BLEND course, but with the incorporating of Google tools into BLEND, my headache woes vanished. Thank you BLEND for being my saving grace.