Major Changes Proposed To Middle School Schedule For Next Year [UPDATED]

WILMINGTON, MA – Major changes may be coming to the Wilmington Middle School schedule next school year.

Interim Principal Ralph Olsen and Assistant Principal Terry Sheehan presented the proposed changes last night in front of over 100 parents in the Middle School Auditorium. [UPDATE-3/22] Parents can read Olsen & Sheehan’s presentation online HERE.

Here are some highlights:

  • The primary objective for the schedule change is to improve student learning.
  • The proposed schedule comprises of 4 major changes: (1) rotating the schedule; (2) restoring Grade 8 teams; (3) providing adequate learning opportunities to improve, math, writing and reading skills for all ability levels; and (4) providing more second-tiered intervention and enrichment opportunities for students.
  • The school is adequately staffed, but staff is not utilized optimally.
  • The schedule is crafted with many constraints: (1) zero budget allocation, (2) adhering to existing contracts, (3) minimizing the elimination of positions.
  • 3.2 ADDED positions under the proposal: one 8th grade science teacher; one 8th grade social studies teacher; one 6th grade math teacher; and one 0.2 art teacher.
  • 3.2 ELIMINATED positions under the proposal: 0.8 music position; 0.4 literary circle position; 0.4 phys ed teacher; 1.0 special education (MAP program) teacher; and 0.6 Spanish teacher.
  • The time blocks on the new 7-period schedule is identical to the current schedule, but the key difference is that the schedule is on a 6-day cycle, with the first 3 classes rotating and last 3 classes rotating. The middle (4th out of 7) class does not rotate.  Performing arts classes — band, strings, chorus, and music — will always be one of the first three classes of the day due to scheduling needs at other schools.
  • All grade 6 students will receive an additional writing/reading enrichment class for 3 consecutive days in the 6-day cycle, and many grade 6 students will receive an additional math enrichment class for 3 consecutive days in the 6-day cycle. Those 6th graders that don’t need the math class will be enrolled in the introductory World Languages class.
  • Students will NOT necessarily remain in the same team each of the three years anymore, based on student and staff feedback.
  • The library would be used to provide second tiered intervention and enrichment to students, with teachers and teacher assistants stationed there
  • 6th grade will eat lunch from 9:54am to 10:24am. 7th grade will eat lunch from 10:43am to 11:13am.  8th grade will eat lunch from 11:32am to 12:02pm.
  • In a survey, 66% of WMS teachers said they like the new schedule.

The Wilmington School Committee will be presented with the proposal at its next meeting on March 25.  Based on past practice, a vote would likely not take place until April 8 or April 22.

Here’s a, hopefully, helpful photo:

Proposed Class Rotation
Proposed Class Rotation

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