Three by Three Schedule: A Fateful Decision

An+image+of+someone+working+far+to+late+into+the+evening+similar+to+some+of+our+experiences.

An image of someone working far to late into the evening similar to some of our experiences.

Since the start of this school year, the students of Shorecrest and their families have been sold a rotten deal. The District, in an attempt to make your lives better, doubled the density for all classes, cutting their run time in half. Then they turned around and said it would make our lives better, attempting to improve our lives in the turmoil of our times. Instead, this change has crushed students and teachers alike in a mountain of content, work, and assessments that punish students, and demands which disable teachers’ autonomy.

The Shoreline School District made organizational changes to all courses offered at Shorecrest and Shorewood. They took all courses and cut the run time in half. Then to give the same amount of in-class time, they expanded the time in class and limited each quarter to only three courses. What used to be a yearlong class would not be both semesters, and what was a semester-long class is now only a quarter long.

In the last month many of you, the students of Shorecrest, have felt like there is a strangely large amount of work. Maybe you are more tired than you used to be after a school day. Maybe you just cannot “get” the material before the quiz catches you at the end of the week. Maybe you have homework every day for hours, with your weekends being filled with projects and long-term work that was not done during the week. There have been many smart, dedicated students who have described these feelings and are currently struggling They have been convinced, in a multitude of cases, that it is just that, a feeling. That they need to buckle down and ignore the smoke.

This is not just a feeling.

By compressing the Shorecrest curriculum, which is consistently ranked as one of the best in the state, the School District increased the pace of all classes, dramatically increasing the density of information. This increase in rate means that when once you had two weeks to learn a subject in math, now you have one. This significantly impacts out of class time. When designing a curriculum, you need to think about time expenditure, because you only have so much in-class time and out-of-class time. In a university curriculum, many colleges aim for a 1:3 ratio of class time to out of class time. This means that for every hour of class time there should be between 2-3 hours of time out of class, not necessarily assignments, but general thinking and focused work. This ratio is also a goal for high school, with some being more extreme and some being less extreme. A student in the AP Studio Art class, an exceedingly difficult class, has a 1:4.5 ratio. So, for every hour they spend in class they spent four hours and thirty minutes. This is an incredibly painful ratio to stick to, like having two full-time jobs. and it is partially the fault of this schedule shift.

The results of the September 10th quiz were shared by Principal Gonzalez during the writing of this piece. That survey has 54.19% of parents believing their child has an appropriate amount of school work and 58.3% believing that the 3×3 schedule would be more effective with roughly 1000 respondents. These responses have been used to argue for and justify the current system by the principal. In the limited discussions with the executive staff of Shorecrest, these results were referred to multiple times.

In responding to a request for comment, Principal Gonzalez said that: “[It is] in our mutual interest to ask questions and to solve (…) problems to better meet students’ [capabilities] (…) [and] strike the right balance in terms of workload and challenge so [students] are set up for success. I am interested in working with students and teachers to navigate our way through this new model — to learn, make improvements, and create dialogue.”

A further request for comment was sent to Curtis Campbell (Public Information Officer) and Marla Miller (Deputy Superintendent), at the Office of the Superintendent of the Shoreline School District. As of this writing, they have not responded to the request for comment.

This is a developing story and will have follow up parts. If you feel the effects of these choices, please reach out; you can contact me at ls0987320@k12.shorelineschools.org or @liamstzrk on Instagram.