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Pascack Valley Schools Reveal New Hybrid Schedule

Class periods will be extended two days each week and students will have more opportunities to pursue individual projects.

Pascack Valley Superintendent P. Erik Gundersen. File photo.
Pascack Valley Superintendent P. Erik Gundersen. File photo.
Pascack Valley Regional school officials presented their plans for a new hybrid scheduling system to parents and students Monday.

The schedule, which will take place in the 2014-15 school year, is designed to give students more time to pursue their passions, promote students' physical and mental wellbeing, innovate instruction and minimize interruptions of academic activities, according to Superintendent P. Erik Gundersen.

"I think they're going to find some of the things they're working on in class have become more meaningful," he said.

The schedule will incorporate rotating periods each day so that students don't always miss the same class for assemblies or when they have to leave school early for events like track meets. Classes will meet for longer periods two days each week and all students will share a common lunch period, Gundersen said.

On Monday, Thursday and Friday, students will go to four 47-minute classes, then lunch, then three more classes. On Tuesday and Wednesday, students will attend two 85-minute classes before lunch and two more after, including new "Pascack period" one day each week.

Students will be able to use the Pascack period for individual learning pursuits, online courses offered by colleges, seminars for topics on which the school doesn't offer a whole class or extra help with teachers when needed. Students will also be able to spend time reading at the library, socializing in the cafeteria or exercising in the school's gym, weight room and track.

"The idea is that students can make good choices," Director of Curriculum Barry Bachenheimer said.

The Pascack period will serve "almost like a mini college experience," except students will be required to check-in with teachers wherever they go and they won't be allowed to leave the school, Bachenheimer said. The idea was inspired in part by companies, like Google, which allow employees to use a portion of their time pursing independent projects.

PVHS Principal Tom DeMaio said he expected the new schedule would allow students to "individualize their learning experience."

Any parents or students who missed the presentation can attend a second, identical one to be given at Pascack Hills High School January 6 at 7 p.m. A slideshow will also be posted on the district's website, officials said.
mlcintineo December 18, 2013 at 07:46 AM
I'm sorry, but that's uncalled for. Like our kids don't have enough pressure on them! Between regular classes, after school programs, gymnastics, soccer and other activities. Now the district wants to add even more pressure by stating "it'll benefit the kids to give them more time on projects" That only means extra time constraints on other homework. When the kids come to school in the morning, don't be surprised if they won't be able to participate in class from lack of sleep! I'm so glad that my daughter and I moved from the district! I'm sorry but they think backwards and only want to benefit themselves!
Seven December 22, 2013 at 06:47 PM
I don't have children attending PVHS but I have had 6 children go through the school system in this area. I hope you know that this is a problem waiting to happen. Not a good idea.

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