Duluth high, middle schools will see schedule changes this fall

13 May 2024

DULUTH — The daily schedule structure for middle and high school students in Duluth Public Schools will likely look a little different this fall. The district is preparing to implement a new middle school model that will add in some block scheduling days. High school students will now have a seven-period day, no longer including a WIN or What I Need flexible period.

Jen Larva, the district’s director of secondary teaching, learning and equity and Danette Seboe, the career and tech education and college and career readiness principal, described both changes at a Duluth School Board committee-of-the-whole meeting on Tuesday.

Middle school changes

Larva worked with a committee in October to develop a middle school model to incorporate new Minnesota arts standards, considering a full-time block schedule for the middle schools. Due to expense, that model has been adjusted to three days of a regular seven-period day schedule and two days of block scheduling.

On Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, students will have seven 47-minute periods. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, they will shift to a block schedule with three 78-minute periods, one of which will be split into advisory and flex time, and one shorter 39-minute class at the end of the day. Students will take their usual class days and have them split over the two days.

“We’re going to use our teacher service days this spring to help our teachers get ready for the change,” Larva said. “We’ve purchased books on the subject for teachers to read, and we’re going to bring in some speakers to help us make this change.”

If it’s a short week, for example, Thanksgiving break week, then Larva said the seven-period days would be the focus.

Shifting the high schools

High schools will also implement a schedule change, going from a six-period day with WIN time to a seven-period day and adding a couple of new classes.

Right now, the number of credits required to graduate from high school is 22.5 over ninth to 12th grade. New required classes are being considered at every grade level, exempting those who have already surpassed that grade level. The new proposed classes are:

A ninth grade futures class aimed at helping students prepare for high school
A 10th grade computer science course
An 11th grade career, college and life readiness course
A 12th grade personal finance class

If all of the proposed courses are added, the graduation requirements would go up from 22.5 to 24.0 credits, increasing yearly as the new courses are added. Students would be required to carry a course load of six or more classes a semester for freshmen to juniors, and seniors would be required to carry five or more credits.

In addition to the new required classes, more elective classes could be added to the catalog, though probably not in time for the upcoming fall semester. These courses include global and Indigenous sports, diverse perspectives in literature, African American folklore and storytelling, American sign language, ethnic studies and anthropology.

Sebo said one of the biggest issues with adding the courses is finding teachers qualified to teach the new courses, such as American Sign Language.

The information was presented to the school board, and as it was a committee-of-the-whole meeting, no votes were taken on the proposed changes.


Need help?

If you need support, please send an email to [email protected]

Thank you.