An Elmbrook School District parent and special education advocate said the current high school block schedule, even with enhanced student-teacher face time, does not meet the needs of special education students.
"I think special education is a different type of issue and not necessarily part of the enhancement," said Sally Flaschberger, whose son is a special education student at Brookfield East. She also is an advocacy specialist for Disability Rights Wisconsin.
Despite her concerns, the Elmbrook School Board on Tuesday said it would not vote on block scheduling. Rather, all board members decided staff should determine how the schedule would serve all students.
A year old, block scheduling includes longer, 90-minute blocks of classroom time that allows students to take more courses within a shorter period of time. Based on feedback from students and parents earlier this year, the board discussed the need for more one-on-one teaching time at recent meetings and was scheduled to vote on a new plan.
Not an easy fit
The proposal calls for enhanced time including 30-minute labs for math and writing twice a week before school at Central and East high schools.
Flaschberger said not all special education students can make the early labs, and that even if they could, that type of enhancement is not conducive to providing prescribed Individualized Education Plans.
In addition, not all special education students would benefit from a 90-minute period.
"It would be 25 percent of their day," she said. "Most of these students need to be in class with others. They may need 30 minutes of individualized instruction within the regular classes. They need different types of instruction."
Addressing the board Tuesday, Flaschberger questioned why the district only included math and writing labs in its enhancements.
"What if a student is having problems in biology?" she asked.
Vote not required
Superintendent Matt Gibson prefaced the board discussion by saying the board did not necessarily have to approve the enhancements.
"You don't have to vote on it because it's not a change to the schedule," Gibson said. He noted that principals Don LaBonte of Central and Dan Pavletich of East are "excited" about the changes and how they will meet the needs of students who have been looking for extra help.
Board members echoed the sentiment, saying they like the changes and have confidence staff will make changes as needed.
More information coming
The results of a recent parent survey about the block schedule could determine other changes. Board Curriculum Committee Chairwoman Kathryn Wilson said those results will be available in July or August.
"It will take some time to get those tabulated," she said.
Flaschberger said she believes many parents are concerned about the lack of individual attention within block scheduling.
"This isn't just about special education," she said. "There are a lot of parents, including those with AP students, who are concerned."
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Brookfield to host hazardous waste collection June 1
- Business Calendar: May 16-29
- Elmbrook School District likely to cut 25-30 positions
- Brookfield mother, daughter create worldwide fundraiser to help Boston Marathon victims
- Police report: May 21
- Despite Elm Grove residents' concerns, Juneau Pathway approved Monday
- Loaded handgun taken from unlocked car in Brookfield
- Ask NOW: When will the Capitol Drive construction be over?
- Brookfield and Elm Grove police join national Click It or Ticket campaign
- Pilgrim Park students' rocket takes first at regional competition