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Administrators at the Cleveland Hill School District are hoping that a new middle school class schedule focused on math and English language arts will help improve student achievement this year. The new schedule plan was presented to the Board of Education during its meeting Wednesday night.

Middle School Principal Andrea Kersten explained that the challenge was to provide 60 to 80 minutes of math and English instruction to students every day, as well as to shift the curriculum to the new core standards in those subjects. Administrators formed three committees to develop the new middle school schedule and examine the impact it would have on issues like transportation and building traffic.

Superintendent Jon MacSwan complimented Kersten and her team for creating grass-roots support for the plan. Middle school faculty reviewed the plan, and now the district will explain the situation through the media, websites and mailings.

The new middle school day will run from 7:45 a.m. to 2:42 p.m. with nine periods. There will be at least 40-minute daily classes for math and English, with both subjects increasing to 80-minute sessions every other day. Passing time between classes will be reduced by one minute, and sixth-grade English classes will be 80 minutes daily.

The changes will result in students receiving an average increase of 100 minutes of English and math every week. Board members appeared supportive of the plan.

“I’m more interested in seeing the results at the end of the year in hopes we’re moving in a positive direction,” said Board President Robert Polino.

Kersten also reported on the district’s pilot summer school program that will begin next week. Six at-risk students were selected to participate in the program, which includes nine hours of instruction every week with an academic intervention specialist to improve English and math instruction.

“This program is going to give us the opportunity to offer an alternative to retention,” Kersten said. “The feedback we have received has been overwhelmingly positive.”