Block schedules rapped by Crestview mother

COLUMBIANA – A change to block scheduling this school year at Crestview Middle School has not sat well with some.

A mother, Sara Chlebus, spoke before the Crestview Board of Education on Monday about concerns she and some others are having with the idea. Block scheduling is placing students into classes by their test results. Designed to give students having more problems extra help and allow those in the top groups to move ahead, block scheduling was tried at Crestview Middle School for the first time this year.

Chlebus said she has five students in the school district, ranging in age from a senior to a preschooler. She graduated from East Palestine herself, but chose to send her children to Crestview. Later she moved to the Crestview district.

One of the reasons Chlebus said she sent her children to Crestview was the caring attitude and community at the school district. Students in layered classes, those with students of different levels in the same room, help each other and learn compassion.

However, she said now that students have been placed in blocks, the lower pod receives the intervention specialist, which harms students who may also be able to utilize their services in other classes. Additionally, the students in the lower pod are finding themselves bullied by those in other classes.

Chlebus said the middle school students she has spoken to do not understand why students they have gone to school with all their lives are now calling them “demoralizing” names.

She read a letter from one student, who pointed out students who do not perform well on a standardized test find themselves in a lower class and their parents have to speak up to help them rise out of that class and into one more challenging for them.

Chlebus, who was given five minutes to speak in front of the board, provided the board with additional letters from students when she did not have time to read them all out loud. The board did not comment on any plans to change the system at this time.

However, during his Race to the Top report, Herman Miller noted the school is doing the best it knows how to meet the needs of students, provided them with the feedback they need to grow and push each student to grow one year plus per school year.

“Are we addressing the needs of all students,” Miller said, noting they are always looking for ways to improve. “All the things we are doing have the right heart behind them.”

In other matters before the board:

– The board adopted next school year’s curriculum guide for high school students, which includes the addition of pre-calculus.

– Elementary Principal Marlene Dangerfield announced there will be a first grade music concert on creepy crawly critters at 7 p.m. Thursday.

– Extended maternity leave was approved for Jill Colaneri from April 14 to April 22.