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New High School Schedule Implemented
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With the goal of providing a little extra help for students that need it most, the 'reading period' at Escalon High School has been restructured.

For years, the daily 20-minute period was designed for students to get in some reading and was something that teachers and students alike participated in. Now, the class will be given three days a week, but for a longer period of time.

Not originally a full class period, the Monday, Wednesday, Friday reading period will now be 50 minutes, roughly twice what it was on the five-day a week basis.

High School Principal Joel Johannsen developed the idea, according to Escalon Unified School District Superintendent Dave Mantooth.

"He was looking to increase some support time for students that were behind," Mantooth said. "The school board was aware that they (high school officials) were looking at changes."

The board, Mantooth added, typically allows individual sites to structure their days, so the school can institute what works best for them. At the high school, adding the longer 'reading' period three days a week should help meet instructional needs.

For Johannsen, the goal is two-fold: meeting the needs of students who need the extra academic support while still allowing them to participate in electives.

"If you're slipping in English, they may put you in an English support class but that often means they take you out of electives," Johannsen said of the typical way to handle the situation. "You can't take the student out of science or PE ... but electives are often one of the main reasons kids come to school."

By offering the academic support in the new 50-minute periods three days a week, the students will get the extra help they need in math and English without having to drop a class they enjoy.

"It will give us shorter classes Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but on the flip side, the classes will meet for longer blocks of time, 57 minutes, on Tuesdays and Thursdays," Johannsen said.

Ultimately, the instructional day remains the same length, just with the slight restructuring of class times.

"We've been able to create an opportunity to have targeted intervention," Johannsen said of the benefit of the new schedule. "We can provide support for the students during the regular school day."