Leetonia schools opt for 7-period day

LEETONIA- The Leetonia middle and high schools will be changing back to a seven-period school day next year to increase efficiency in use of staff and resources.

Schools Superintendent Rob Mehno informed the school board of the change at last week’s board meeting, fielding questions and concerns from board members regarding how one less period a day will affect the students’ education.

Mehno said Monday afternoon that the district will return to the seven-period day due to a decrease in student population- approximately 26 students less at the middle school projected over the next five years- as well as the opportunity to ensure a more efficient use of staff.

“We need to remember and be cognizant that we need to always analyze which schedule will best serve the students, staff and district,” he said.

The district has utilized an eight-period day since the start of the 2010-2011 school year, a move that enabled the use of high school teachers at the middle school level and accommodate the loss the of five staff members through attrition at a savings of nearly $400,000. The district at that time had an operating deficit of $185,832.

With the change next year, students will still be able to take advantage of dual credit options, as well as the number of electives, except painting, added with the shift to eight periods four years ago, Mehno said. However, there will not be two sections offered for several highly requested classes including parenting and weightlifting.

The seven-period day increases class time 30 minutes a week (18 hours a year) for the students. And although the eight-period day allowed for 90 minutes of math and language arts instruction for grades five through eight, teachers have developed time in the new schedule to provide intervention for students in those subjects, Mehno said.

Mehno also noted that students need 21 credits to graduate, but average 24, so the loss of a period should not greatly affect graduation status for students. However, the requirements will be re-evaluated, he said.