By Noah Alatza
The Westfield Washington Schools Board of Trustees met Dec. 12. The next meeting is 7 p.m. Jan. 9. For more, visit wws.k12.in.us. Among items discussed included Westfield Middle School potentially changing its calendar into quarters.
The board heard a presentation from WMS Principal Ryan Haughey and Westfield Intermediate School Principal Annette Patchett, but it will not vote until January.
If the board approves the measure, Westfield Middle School will move its academic calendar from trimesters to nine-week quarters.
“We have done a great job aligning with other districts,” Haughey said. “Westfield students have the same benefits as other students in the county.”
Haughey said the goal is to group physical education and health into a single wellness class.
Director of Human Resources Chris Baldwin said the district has budgeted funds to add three additional wellness teachers, which has been planned for several months. Fiscal benefits of moving transitioning from trimesters include better responsibility for staffing and facilities, expansion on Project Lead the Way programs and better alignment with courses taught at the high school.
“If we were to move to quarters versus trimesters we could better align with the high school,” Haughey said. “Those classes would be able to go to two grading periods, and execute the curriculum better.”
Patchet said Project Lead the Way fits better in quarters because it operates on nine-week schedules.
“We are partnering with the middle school and making sure that the alignment is seamless for all our kids,” Patchet said. “(There will be) more progress reporting for parents, and as we grow we hope to add an additional fourth course.”
Haughey said the proposed change would facilitate better use of taxpayer dollars and facilities.
“As a district, we just do not have enough time for health classes,” Haughey said. “We want to align more with Carmel and Noblesville to give our kids a yearlong opportunity in physical education and health.”
Haughey said the school could offer something better and bring back family and consumer science following the renovations in 2019.
“We have missed out on this for several years because we did not have the space,” he said. “Students in middle school on quarters have more opportunities currently than WMS students.”
Haughey said the change would not impact breaks or other related holiday breaks. There would be no adjustment to the calendar.
Board Vice President Dan Degnan asked how the change will be successful from a student standpoint.
“I think one way is looking at the opportunities to give kids,” Haughey said. “The key thing for us is the wellness class. With more social and emotional needs, this gives our counselors the opportunity to teach more of the healthy relationships we need.”
Board President Duane Lutz said he agrees with the updated schedule and predicts parents’ reactions will be favorable.