STAMFORD — Superintendent Tamu Lucero said she is planning to move forward with the transition to the 4 x 4 hybrid block schedule next year at Stamford High and Westhill High School, despite recent concerns voiced by the schools’ principals about the potential “catastrophic” consequences on student achievement and graduation.
Last week, Principal Matthew Forker of Stamford High School and Michael Rinaldi of Westhill High School sent a letter to Lucero asking that the high schools transition to an A/B block schedule rather than the 4 x 4 hybrid block, saying that the 90-minute A/B block schedule, which is already being used at AITE, would have many of the same benefits of the 4 x 4 hybrid block while avoiding the potential negative consequences.
“In our professional opinion the very real risk of having large numbers, possibly hundreds of students without a full schedule would have a catastrophic impact on academic achievement, graduation rates, as well as the general and safe management of our high schools,” they wrote.
Lucero sent out a communication to the Board of Education Thursday morning saying that the district had heard the concerns from the high schools and that she believed the district would be able to mitigate any potential problems.
“We have listened and understand all the concerns presented and are confident that we will be able to address them all as we move forward,” Lucero wrote.
Board of Education Chair Jackie Heftman wrote in an email to CT Examiner that the Board would be receiving more information as the scheduling process is completed.
“The superintendent recognizes the challenges associated with instituting a new high school schedule. She is providing support to the schedulers and is confident that they will successfully complete their task,” Heftman wrote.
Lucero said the district would work with district Educational Consultant Maria Fiori, the district research department, the school counselors and a consultant for the online platform PowerSchool to assist with creating the new schedule.
“The selection of this schedule continues to be in the best interest of our students, offering the greatest flexibility, access and opportunity, which ultimately remains our focus moving forward,” Lucero wrote.
Amy Beldotti, the district’s associate superintendent of teaching and learning, has said in the past that the hybrid block schedule would give students more opportunities to work and take college courses outside of school, as well as giving students who failed the ability to retake a course the following semester.
In a joint statement on Thursday, Forker and Rinaldi said they maintained their initial reservations around the 4 x 4 hybrid block schedule, but that they would do their best to implement it.
“We firmly stand by our recommendation to move to the AB schedule, however as now directed we will continue to work diligently to bring the 4 x 4 hybrid schedule to fruition,” they wrote.