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Laguna Beach

 Volume 13, Issue 47  |  June 11, 2021

LBUSD sticking with more traditional school schedules


Laguna Beach Unified School District will be sticking with a more traditional schedule next year, according to messages last week from local high and middle school leaders. 

The announcement comes on the heels of a parent and student protest on May 21 against the suggested “4x4” calendar, which the school district listed during a presentation as an option they were considering. The 4x4 model would have students enrolled and fully completing four different courses each semester, rather than completing six courses (seven with an early “zero period”) over the entire school year. 

On Friday (June 4), Laguna Beach High School Principal Jason Allemann and Thurston Middle School Principal Joseph Vidal shared near identical messages about the 2021-22 schedule for their respective schools.

Both provided tentative example schedules in the messages that displayed six periods with a zero-period option.

This year’s trimester schedule was developed out of necessity, both principals explained in their respective messages. During the year, several “spontaneous innovations” were created, including cohorting students, a lighter course load, and increased support from teachers. 

“As educators, we are always in a state of reflecting on practice – especially coming off of a pandemic that forced us to think differently about how we engage students and address their ongoing needs,” Allemann and Vidal wrote. “As things settle, we have the unique opportunity to adjust past problems of practice and enhance our approach to supporting ALL students to the greatest extent practicable.” 

They explained that this includes embedding flexible interventions and reducing class sizes, as well as adjusting instructional blocks to personalized instruction and cooperative learning through various teaching modalities.

Conversations and feedback from stakeholders, including teachers, parents, and students, will continue, both confirmed. 

“Student focus groups and department and school-wide meetings will drive our work,” Allemann and Vidal wrote. 

At both LBHS and TMS, officials have determined that a longer runway is needed to develop an aligned secondary schedule that supports student learning.

Moving forward next year, the LBHS student schedule will include: Six periods and a zero-period option (similar to the previous schedule); no rotating periods (different from the previous schedule); courses will be yearlong; and a five-day school week will include four block days and one all period day.

At TMS, the next year’s schedule will include: Six periods and a zero-period option (similar to the previous schedule); yearlong courses; and a five-day school week with four block days and one all period day.

“As we move forward, the (TMS/LBHS) team is hopeful that we can engage with the greater school community in productive and meaningful interactions around other scheduling options with a specific focus on students, the support we are able to offer them, (and/along with) the increased access to courses and new learning experiences we can provide to them,” the message from both schools reads.

LBUSD sticking protest

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

Parents and students at recent protest against the proposed 4x4 school schedule

LBUSD families were concerned that the 4x4 schedule would cram more information into a shorter period, resulting in a higher risk of learning loss through class compression and gaps in instruction, parents argued.

The district proposed the 4x4 as a possible schedule for the 2021-22 school year during a community forum on May 17, which also included a review of two other schedule possibilities: The traditional LBHS “waterfall” and yearlong classes A/B block. District staff went over the benefits and challenges of all three possible schedules.

The school site has the ability to make a scheduling decision, LBUSD Public Information Officer Shelley Spessard explained in an email to Stu News Laguna on May 24. Teachers review all of the feedback collected from parents, students, and staff, and make a recommendation to the school leadership team. Site principals then propose a schedule for the upcoming year.

The school board approves the overall instructional minutes yearly for each school site in LBUSD and this is done prior to the start of the next school year, which starts on August 23 for 2021-22.

The LBUSD Board of Education has a meeting scheduled for today (June 8) at 6 p.m. Although the school schedule or instructional minutes are not specifically on the agenda, speakers can comment on the matter during public comment on non-agenda items.

Several other noteworthy items that are on the agenda later in the meeting include: Agreements with school employee associations; LBUSD budget for 2021-22; an update on the 18-month Plan to Accelerate Learning; a resolution to dissolve the emergency powers granted to the superintendent during the COVID-19 pandemic; and, during the consent calendar, contracts for services related to student vision and hearing screening, drug and alcohol education, and Rosetta Stone student subscription.

The board agenda is available online here. The open session begins at 6 p.m. (following the closed session). 

View the meeting via Zoom here and then click on the appropriate link for closed or open session.

To comment via Zoom, raise your hand during the designated public comment period and un-mute your microphone once recognized to do so.

To comment by phone call, use the Zoom meeting phone number (669) 900-6833 with the webinar ID 968 2511 7077. Press *9 on your phone if you would like to comment during the designated comment period. Once recognized to make your comment, press *6 to un-mute your phone. When you hear “your phone is un-muted,” please proceed with your comment.


Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Maggi Henrikson, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Stacia Stabler and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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