New schedule sparks conversation of change

Sara Geiger, Editor-in-Chief

  Kingwood High School piloted a new program this year in which four-day weeks would still have block days for the 2019-20 school year. Principal Dr. Michael Nasra said the school decided to implement this program to provide students and staff with a consistent schedule every week.

   “The catalyst of the conversation was ‘Is there another way to do school?’ and the reason why we engaged in that conversation is because during the Hurricane Harvey year, we had a four-hour modified day and it led to some creative thoughts amongst our community of ‘Should school be what we’ve always known it to be?’” Nasra said.

   The schedule allows the school day to start at 7:25 a.m. and end at 2:50 p.m. on Thursday – just like Kingwood Park. However, at KHS students only go to periods two, four and six by having ‘Special A’ and ‘Special B.’ These are free periods in which students can have their athletics, fine arts or any other extra curricular activity that they would normally have after school, during school hours. If students are not part of these organizations, they are able to have a study hall at school or late arrival/early release.

   “The creative thought was ‘What if we could build [extra-curriculars] into the school day and keep the minutes the same, but still keep this consistency for students,’” Nasra said.

  With any schedule change or amendment, however, there will be students who will not always utilize their time wisely; but Nasra said KHS staff and administration are doing their best to keep everyone on track.

   “Sometimes with unstructured time, [students] feel the need to just relax and hang out, which is perfectly OK, but again we’d like to encourage our students to take advantage of that time for any academic benefits that they may have,” Nasra said.

It’s just about what’s best for the campus and everybody. We’re always open to looking at things to see if it can make us better.

— Wes Solomon


   The traditional schedule for these weeks is having all seven periods each day. KHS has yet to determine whether they will continue this unique schedule next year, however, the seven period four-day weeks will remain at Kingwood Park.

    “You don’t have to figure out what schedule you have on which day,” associate principal Wes Solomon said. “All four-day weeks will just be an even seven period day, and I think the advantage is the common organization of that schedule.”

All decisions for the school district have to be reviewed and approved by state holders and district officials prior to being implemented. Nasra emphasized the importance of taking students’, staff’s and parents’ input and opinions into account when making those decisions.

  “I think that some of these ideas are methodical; and when we made the decision, like in [flex] lunch or Blue Thursday, it’s not been in haste; it’s been with purposeful conversation that has lasted over the course of a year in some cases,” Nasra said. “If you’ve seen the calendar for next year, you’ve seen that there are maybe 14 weeks that are very similar to this year, and on those four day weeks there would be days that students do not have late arrival, so we do need to make a decision if it is appropriate for our community.”

   A consensus on the success of the program has yet to be determined by KHS, but Solomon said he does not think KPARK will implement any type of modified block schedule in the near future.

   “It’s just about what’s best for the campus and everybody,” Solomon said. “We’re always open to looking at things to see if it can make us better.”

  With Kingwood High School often being the pilot school for these types of programs, they are the first to reap the benefits and the consequences of them. Nasra said that he is proud that KHS can be the example, even though there can be some degree of uncertainty of the project’s success.

    “I like being on the leading edge– not the bleeding edge– of innovative thought, so I would encourage still creativity from our students and staff; I would want them to be inspired to take that step, and it’s certainly a mantra that our district uses and I would also ask that we be thoughtful and purposeful in what steps we take,” Nasra said.