Newberg education — Both Chehalem Valley and Mountain View middle schools will add 30 minutes to the school day and operate on a seven-period format this fall

Both Newberg middle schools — Mountain View and Chehalem Valley — will adopt a uniform schedule with seven periods and a lengthened school day beginning this fall.

This will result in changes at both schools, but most notably at Mountain View, which currently operates on a six-period schedule with one subject that alternates between days.

By adding 30 minutes to the school day and reducing passing time to four minutes between classes, both schools have seven 53-minute class periods. Mountain View currently has 55-minute blocks, with Chehalem Valley offering 47-minute classes.

“Any time you can add instructional minutes, that’s a plus, especially given the high stakes and the things our kids have to do to graduate high school and become career and college ready,” Chehalem Valley principal John Franco said. “The more time we have with them, the better.”

The move will also help standardize learning across the district, which is something the two schools have been working on in various ways, including common standards, assessments and rubrics, for the last three years, according to Franco.

“Our relationship was already there because we had been working together for so long,” Franco said. “If we had just started, then it would have been a lot more difficult. There really were no hidden agendas and we came to consensus. There were stakeholders from every content area on the committee. It was a good group to help make the decision.”

Among the advantages cited when Franco and Superintendent Kym LeBlanc-Esparza presented their proposal to the school board on Feb. 11 were having physical education and reading periods every day, with social studies becoming a separate course instead of being included in core instruction for seventh and eighth graders.

Chehalem Valley already offers P.E. every day, which Franco said he is glad to continue.

“All of our kids get one elective,” Franco said. “It also lends itself because what we like to do with our language arts classes is separate them into two periods, like a block period, so basically our kids will have reading for 53 minutes then writing for 53 minutes. When you have over 100 minutes of language arts instruction, that’s pretty powerful stuff.”

Working with staff from the school’s transportation provider, First Student, the group proposal would add five minutes to 17 current roots and create four additional ones. The total cost of the changes was estimated to be $63,052, but with 70 percent of the cost to be reimbursed by the state, the actual cost to the district would be $18,916.

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