In a Hybrid 4x4 schedule, there are four, 90-minute instructional blocks each day. Most classes meet daily for a semester. At the end of the semester, students earn a full credit for each course that met daily. In the hybrid schedule, some courses meet on alternating days throughout the school year.
In spring 2009, the School Board approved a strategic plan with goals and objectives that involve sustaining and building on the excellence of the school division. The objectives include meeting rising NCLB targets and goals, increasing the number of students scoring in the top quartile of the SAT, reducing SAT achievement gaps, increasing the number of scores of 3 or higher on Advanced Placement Exams, increasing the percentage of high school graduates earning an Advanced Studies diploma, increasing the percentage of students who graduate “on time”, and maximizing the on-time graduation rate of NCLB sub-groups.
Also in spring 2009, the Virginia Board of Education announced revisions to the Standards of Accreditation (SOA) that increased the graduation requirements for students entering ninth grade in 2010-2011. The new standards included an additional requirement of one credit in Economics and Personal Finance for Standard and Advanced Studies diplomas and raised the number of credits for students working toward an Advanced Studies diploma from 24 to 26. In April 2010, the implementation of this requirement was delayed until 2011-2012. Beginning with the graduating class of 2011, all high schools will also be held accountable for meeting or exceeding a Graduation Completion Index (GCI) of 85 to meet accreditation standards.
In fall 2009, a committee was established to research, explore and recommend a scheduling option that would best meet the needs of students in the York County School Division. Each high school principal was tasked with identifying two teachers, two students and a parent to represent their school. Guidelines were provided to ensure teacher representation across content areas. Student selection guidelines were also provided to ensure representation among the fine arts, career and technical programs, athletics, and School of the Arts (SOA), International Baccalaureate (IB), and Governor's School programs. All high school principals served on the committee, along with a director from each school (guidance, athletics, IB and SOA) and five representatives from the school board office.
Over the course of the 2009-10 school year, the committee reviewed the strengths and challenges of multiple schedule formats, including our current 7AB schedule. In December of 2009, the committee narrowed its focus to three schedule formats - 7AB, 8AB and Hybrid 4X4 - and teams were established to visit schools successfully utilizing the 8AB and Hybrid 4X4 models. Following these visits, visiting team members presented to the full committee in June 2010 and recommended the Hybrid 4X4 as the option that would best serve students in the York County School Division, regardless of academic need (acceleration, support, and recovery). An overwhelming majority of the committee voted to move forward with recommending the Hybrid 4 x 4 schedule.
Yes. It is envisioned that all sections of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, Performing Arts, Yearbook, Newspaper, ROTC, Marketing and COE courses would be offered on an alternating-day basis throughout the school division. Some sections of other courses would be offered on an alternating-day schedule opposite of these courses. For example, even though most sections of English 11 would meet daily, one or two sections of English 11 might be offered on an alternating-day basis to serve students in other alternating-day courses, such as band.
Under the Hybrid 4x4 schedule, students focus more intensely on a smaller number of subjects at one time. They take courses on an every-day basis, rather than on an alternating-day basis. Therefore, they do not study all courses both semesters of every year.
In a Hybrid 4x4, the amount of instructional time in a particular course is the same as on the current schedule. Most courses meet 90 consecutive days for 90 minutes per class instead of 90 alternating days for 90 minutes per class. Also, some students will increase the amount of instructional time in particular core areas because they will take additional courses in these areas. For example, a student might take Spanish III during the first semester and Spanish IV in the second semester, eventually taking more World Language courses than he would have under the current schedule. Similarly, a student might take Geometry during the first semester and Algebra II during the second semester, eventually taking more math courses than he would have under the current schedule.
Even though students are not losing any instructional time in particular courses, and are likely to gain instructional time in core courses, they are not studying all core subjects both semesters of every year. Proponents of the Hybrid 4x4 believe that the benefits relating to students and teachers having fewer courses at a time, as well as the increased opportunities for credit recovery, mitigate concerns relating to potential instructional gaps.
Some students struggle to manage the work of seven courses at one time. To be successful in multiple courses, students must effectively manage their work so that they can meet different and overlapping timelines for doing homework, completing projects and studying for quizzes and tests. Students are more likely to be successful when they are managing work in fewer courses.
Also, note that even most of the students who are enrolled in alternating-day courses, such as band or an Advanced Placement course, would take fewer than the current load of seven credits at a time. These students would also reap some benefits of a reduced course load.
Because students can earn eight credits a year, they would be able to earn 32 credits in grades 9-12. Students could accelerate in particular core areas to better prepare themselves for college and/or take additional elective courses to explore interests and possible career options.
Many students currently are unable to take all the courses that interest them. Some students must choose between taking band and another course. Other students must choose between a career & technical education course and an art course. Others must choose between two Advanced Placement courses. The Hybrid 4x4 creates more opportunities for students to take the courses they want and need.
Students will also have more opportunities to take additional classes to help them advance to higher level math courses. For example, students who might have difficulty moving from Geometry to Algebra II could take Algebra, Functions and Data Analysis (AFDA) before Algebra II. Students who might find Algebra II Trig too fast paced could take Algebra II first semester and Trigonometry second semester. These students could then take Math Analysis the next year, advancing farther in math then they might under the current schedule model.
The number of students taking summer school is another indicator of student need and interest relating to taking additional courses. Other students need or want additional courses but the cost of summer school and other commitments preclude them from attending summer school.
The ability to take eight credits in a year means that there are more opportunities for credit recovery. Space for an eighth credit means that it is easier for students who struggle academically to fit the courses they need for graduation into their schedule. The ability to re-take failed courses and to remain on track with peers is a powerful incentive for students to stay in school and graduate.
Students have more room in their schedules to take courses that they have previously failed. They also may be able to immediately repeat a course during the second semester that they failed during the first semester. Or, they could take two years of a core subject within the same academic year without having to take the two courses at the same time. For example, a student could repeat English 11 in the fall of his fourth year of high school and then proceed to English 12 in the spring.
The number of schools in Virginia on a 4x4 schedule has grown significantly in the last 15 years, increasing from 28 to at least 114 schools. At least 37 percent of high schools in Virginia operated on a 4x4 schedule in the 2009-10 school year.
At least 53 percent of high schools in Virginia use a 4x4, 8AB or 8-period schedule, allowing their students to earn eight credits in a year. YCSD high schools are in the minority of high schools in Virginia that allow students to earn seven or fewer credits in a year as part of the typical school day
If a student misses four consecutive days of school under the current 7AB schedule, the student has two days of work to make up for six classes and four days of work to make up for his seventh class that meets during the “skinny” period. If a student misses the same amount of school under the Hybrid 4x4, the student would have four days of make-up work for each class that meets on a daily basis. Thus, it is harder for the student to make up work for a daily class because the class has met more than if it were on an alternating day schedule. However, this is partially, completely or more than balanced out because the student has fewer classes for which to make up work.
The test window set by the Virginia Department of Education for the first semester of the 2010-2011 school year is Nov. 22, 2010 through Feb. 25, 2011. Students in first semester 4x4 SOL classes would be tested in January prior to the exam period. Students in second semester 4x4 SOL classes would be tested in May, as they are now.
Yes. YCSD students would continue to have access to the Governor's School, special education program, and career and technical program at New Horizons Regional Educational Center (NHREC). It is anticipated that some schools would move into the morning career and technical program to maintain access while changing the bell schedule. This change could increase participation among students in the affected high schools.
Currently, some students transfer into our school division from schools that use a schedule model that is different from our schedule model. Under our current schedule format, it is sometimes difficult to create schedules for these transfer students. The difficulty relates to the varying number of courses that students take and whether the courses meet on a daily or alternating-day basis. For example, under the current 7AB model, it is sometimes difficult to enroll transfer students in the same courses that they started in their previous schools. The existence of Virtual Virginia courses and 40+ virtual courses operated by the school division helps address these situations.
Under the Hybrid 4x4 schedule, counselors would find it easier to create schedules for some transfer students and more difficult for others. Note that at least 37 percent of Virginia high schools use a 4x4 schedule format. Virtual courses would continue to play a helpful role.
Principals hope to significantly reduce administrative duties regardless of the schedule format. Implementation of the Hybrid 4x4 could assist with this effort. It is anticipated that the staffing efficiency provided by the Hybrid 4x4 could allow for the employment of two cafeteria monitors per school during lunches without additional compensation expenses.
A division implementation committee would be formed to include a steering committee and site-based teams to support the implementation of the Hybrid 4x4 schedule. All site-based teams would be asked to identify questions that need to be addressed for implementation and provide recommendations to the steering committee to promote a smooth transition to the Hybrid 4x4. The principal and site-based teams would also be expected to share information with and solicit input from their faculty and PTSA Board on a monthly basis.
The steering committee would include all high school principals and guidance directors, the director of secondary instruction and the chief academic officer. Each high school site-based team would include administrators, teachers, students, parents and staff. The School Board Office site-based team would include content-specific instructional specialists, program coordinators for testing, professional development, educational technology and virtual learning, and IT staff.