Trimesters Make it Through Round One

Cody High School’s transition to the trimester system went forward this school year. The first trimester took place from Aug. 28 and ended Nov. 21.

The transition brought new challenges to teachers and students alike. For example, a class period was added which alters the length of the class, so students only have roughly 73 minutes per class and five class periods.

This could mean less time to do homework in class, but according to English teacher Elizabeth Hansen, it is just the opposite.

“There’s not really a culture of doing homework here in Cody; people don’t do it, so we have to offer much of our teaching time to reading a novel,” said Hansen. “…it makes the units too long. It’s just different, and we’re learning about the adjustments we’ll have to make for next year.”

Hansen, like many other teachers, spent two weeks this summer redoing curriculum and pacing guides to make sure that they matched trimesters. “I felt like a hamster in a wheel,” said Hansen. The curriculum for each class was originally created over five years of perfecting and it was designed for a semester. With the lack of time spent on the trimester curriculum, there were a bunch of hiccups.

“…we didn’t realize we didn’t have enough books to all be teaching ninth grade English at the same time, and so we had to make a ton of copies of things. It seemed like every day there was a new mini crisis, but it all worked in the end,” said Hansen.

Hansen teaches AP Language and Composition, Honors literature classes, and English 9. The more demanding classes offer a wealth of curriculum materials, and Hansen unfortunately had to cut material out.

Hansen explained that 97 minute classes such as those with semesters gave teachers more time to plan well-rounded instruction, including vocabulary, reading, discussion, and group work. Trimesters make the class time seem more fragmented.

With the trimesters, students don’t know what the course was like beforehand, so that part of the switch is more difficult for the teachers. Students just had to adjust to another class and all of the scheduling issues that arose due to the trimesters.

John Corbin teaches American Government, a senior required class, and one of several other new classes offered just for one trimester. Most required classes are more than one trimester because of the credit requirement.

“The trimester went pretty well overall,” said Corbin. “The new schedule is a little hectic compared to last year, and there are more students to teach and grade, but it is starting to work itself out.”

Overall the students in Corbin’s classes seemed to adjust well to the new schedule.

“They were a little bit overwhelmed with the new amount of classes and expectations for getting more work done, but it will work out for them as well,” said Corbin.

Teachers and students alike have been feeling the growing pains the trimesters produced, but with one trimester under the school’s belt, no one can really say if they are a good fit or not.