Extra class period for local high school

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News 12 11pm / Wednesday, June 11, 2014

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW) -- Teachers and students are kicking off summer vacation, but school boards in our area are still thinking about the classroom.

Teachers in Richmond County will get four more paid days at work and high school students in Columbia County will get one more period for the school day.

Classroom screens are up, the school bus is parked and students are walking out of school for the summer.

"I'm excited. I'm glad I am going be a senior," said rising senior Moye Whitfield.

Before Whitfield can trade his high school classroom next year for a college campus, he'll have an extra class.

"I thought the people were just crazy. I don't know why they would want to put 7 periods," Whitfield told News 12.

Mike Sleeper sits on the Columbia County Board of Education. He says going from six to seven periods for 9th-12th graders would benefit students.

"We really do expect to see an increase in graduation rates. Also as a result of this, all the core classes in high school are going to be at or below the state maximum class size," he said.

Charlie Whitfield is Moye's father. He says the extra period is good because it gives students at risk of failing some cushion.

"This would give them an opportunity to catch up. So, it's to the child's advantage to take advantage of that 7th period," he said.

Richmond County did not add any school periods, but the county is adding more teaching time by taking away four of the nine furlough days and voting to hire more teachers.

Even though rising senior Moye Whitfield isn't thrilled about the extra class period, he says it's a good idea that should've started a little earlier.

"I wish they would've had it my freshmen year. I was struggling my freshmen and sophomore year. If they had it back then my credits would've been higher than they are now," said the rising senior.

The extra period won't just help those at risk of not graduating, it will also reward those who are on track. Students can use the period to take an extra enrichment course or use the period to leave school early for a work program, Sleeper said.

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