Block scheduling committee holds first public meeting


Sierra Hunter

Mr. Brian Brennan, OHS assistant principal, and Mr. Jason Landherr, MHS assistant principal, discuss possible schedules and answer the attendees questions.

The block scheduling committee held its first meeting open to the community at OHS on Sept. 7.

John DeWalle, leader of the block scheduling committee and director of the Witzel Alternative Program, constructed a group of teachers, administrators, parents, and students to discuss the possibility of a new scheduling format. Together these members have mentioned the pros and cons of different schedule formats and have collected research from schools across Missouri.

“The mission of the committee is to ensure that our district operates a schedule that has the agility to support personalized pathways of learning. That could be what we currently do, or something out there that we may not have considered. The options in scheduling are boundless,” DeWalle said.

Currently both Oakville and Mehlville high school uses a block format where students attend their classes every other day for 90 minutes. Other possible schedules include a more traditional model where students attend all their classes every day, and a hybrid model. The hybrid model can be composed differently depending on the school; some hybrid models mix block classes with traditional classes, and some models leave the campus open for students to dictate their schedules.

The committee for block scheduling is different in that four students, two from OHS and two from MHS, have been selected to contribute their voice. Since students are a primary variable in this debate, it is fitting that student representatives would be chosen to speak for their peers.

“I believe the meeting went really well for being with a new group of people for the first time… I thought everyone had a very open mind and great viewpoints on the idea of a new schedule,” Carly Herman (10), a Mehlville student representative, said.

The meeting opened with a general presentation of what the committee was about. An online forum was open to the members at the meeting for them to submit any questions or concerns they would like DeWalle to address in upcoming meetings. During the meeting parents, teachers, administration, and student representatives got in small groups to list their top five qualifications of a good schedule. After, the groups broke off to move to different tables to see other schedule layouts that schools in the area use. At this time people from the community were able to voice their concerns to the committee leaders.

“I think the meeting was very positive. I think everyone who was part of the committee meeting and the community meeting that followed left more informed on the committee, community feedback, and scheduling in general,” Jason Buatte, new assistant principal at OHS, said.

The next block scheduling meeting that is open to the community will be Sept. 21 at MHS.