The Gainesville City school board unanimously approved the 2022-23 school calendar Tuesday afternoon. The district will also adopt a seven-period schedule next school year.
In August, schools will transition from a 4x4 block schedule to a seven-period schedule, meaning classes that currently last about an hour and a half will be shortened to about an hour.
For more than 20 years, the school system has used a 4x4 block schedule in which students take four classes in their first semester and four different classes in their second semester.
Shorter class times will benefit both teachers and students, Superintendent Jeremy Williams said.
“From a teacher standpoint, you have to have a lot of different transition activities to keep students engaged,” Williams said, adding that in a world of increasingly shorter attention spans, “90 minutes is way too long to try to absorb information.”
He said the new scheduling will also allow students who transfer from other school systems, such as Hall County, to adjust more easily.
The 2022-23 calendar will give students and staff a longer fall break, five days for students and four for staff.
Additionally, on final exam days, middle school and high school students will be released two hours early, around 1 p.m.
“What the half day does is allows our teachers to get everything graded in the gradebook, but it also allows our students who need more individualized attention to be able to recoup some of those supports,” Williams said.
The calendar also affords teachers a full four days of planning before open house. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the school system adopted standalone open house days, and that will continue. Open house used to be held at the same time as teacher preplanning.