Coeur d’Alene school leaders look to get both high schools on the same schedule

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho– More than 3,000 high school students in Coeur d’Alene might need to get used to a new schedule in the near future.

Right now, Lake City High School and Coeur d’Alene High School have different looking school days. They have a different number of periods and different numbers of credits.

Coeur d’Alene High School is currently on a six-period bell schedule; Lake City High is on an eight-period A/B schedule.

“In my opinion, Lake City’s biggest advantage is they have more classes, but that’s not really a benefit without drawbacks,” said Austin Smith, a junior at Coeur d’Alene High.

That could all change though. The school district is trying to decide if it’s time for them to get in sync.

One of the big reasons district leaders wants the schools on the same schedule is so they have the same graduation requirements. There are disparities between what each school requires for graduation. Lake City High School students need 58 credits to graduate and Coeur d’Alene High School students need 46.

Dr. Mike Nelson, the director of assessment and system performance with the Coeur d’Alene School District, says that means if a senior from Coeur d’Alene High wants to transfer to Lake City High, they won’t have enough credits to graduate. If it’s vice-versa, a student could graduate early.

Another reason is to give students more opportunities at each school. There are also different classes being offered at the schools.

“At Coeur d’Alene High School, they offer Japanese, Spanish, French and german. If you were a student at Lake City High, you wouldn’t access German nor Japanese. The teachers are here,” Nelson said at Coeur d’Alene High. “If we’re on the same schedule, we could actually make it so coursework could be available and accessible at both of our comprehensive high schools.”

Some parents, like Bill Elliott, prefer the traditional six-period schedule. That’s because then students are in the same classes every day and not every other day.

Elliott’s two youngest children are now in Coeur d’Alene High. They were originally supposed to go to Lake City High, but Elliott asked to put them in Coeur d’Alene High. His oldest daughter went to Lake City High School before she graduated

“I think it’s most important that the kids are strong in math, science and language art. If they get a third more time in those core courses, in a traditional schedule, that’s what it’s about, and that’s important. That’s why we sent our kids to this school, so they can be a part of that schedule,” Elliot said.

The math shows kids spend more time in class during the six-period schedule compared to the A-B schedule.

Test scores show the benefits, too. Over the last five years, Coeur d’Alene High students tested better than Lake City students in both english and math in the Idaho Standard Achievement tests.

Coeur d’Alene High students tested better by two percent to 30 percent in some years compared to Lake City High in English.

In math, Coeur d’Alene High students tested better from 16 percent to 23 percent in those same years, according to data provided by the district.

The district hopes to have a schedule picked out and given to the board in November, hoping for a vote in December. The district says it plans to implement the new schedule next fall.

Parents still have time to give their opinion on the draft schedules shown below. The district will give more detail to families in a meeting at Lakes Middle School between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Coeur d’Alene sample schedules by Tasha Cain on Scribd