ACPS schedule change has parents upset
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Math and language arts are considered fundamental classes for students, but after some research, Albemarle County Public Schools wants to provide more opportunities for elective classes geared toward students' interests.
ACPS middle schools will be moving to a new schedule next year, operating on an A-day, B-day schedule, alternating math and language arts. Officials with the school division say they have seen statistics that this is beneficial, but one parent who is also an eighth-grade teacher is against this change.
“We always follow the data, we always follow the research,” said Helen Dunn, ACPS Communications.
Dunn says the division doesn’t make these decisions without seeing the facts first.
“What we are learning is that this schedule actually does work better for students. That if you have a great teacher, it’s not really a matter of the number of consecutive minutes that you have in a classroom as much as the quality of the instruction that you have. That’s really what’s going to predict an outcome,” said Dunn.
Tory Selmer, a mother of middle schoolers and an eighth-grade math teacher with ACPS, says she doesn’t think this is the right move. The division has already begun this transition, and she says she’s already seeing her students fall behind.
“We are still closing gaps due to COVID and the virtual learning that happened. There are academic gaps, and there are social gaps, like students learning how to be students in a classroom with other students again. That takes time out of the class, the education piece,” said Selmer.
She voiced her concerns at the last Albemarle County School Board meeting on Thursday, sharing she is worried about the education of her students and her own children.
“I’m seeing students really struggle with this every other day concept. And I can say from working with other teachers in the county at our DPLC meetings, it’s not something that we’re finding success with at the math eighth level either,” Selmer shared.
ACPS says statistics have shown that this schedule sets kids up for success, especially as they move on to high school.
“One of the things about this is that it’s going to allow students the opportunity to enroll in more elective classes so that will really give them the opportunity to explore things. Check out what interest them outside of just that core content that we think of the most fundamental content of our schools,” Dunn said.
Selmer says she isn’t seeing the benefits but she’d like a compromise.
“Sure let’s offer the every other day classes for those that they feel they could be successful with it because there are students who are being successful with it. Not many, but there are some and I don’t want to disqualify that. But to offer math class year long, language arts year long for the students that really need that support and that consistency,” she said.
Dunn says, as of right now, ACPS will be moving forward with this schedule until the data doesn’t support this change.
“So, anytime we find that you know, we learn that something isn’t working for our students, for our employees, whoever the stakeholder is. We absolutely will work to fix it or to move into a different direction,” she said.