Most high schools in North Vancouver will run on a semester system next year, the school district has decided.
The semester system will be similar to the schedule high schools operated with this year, but with a few tweaks to accommodate academies and other specialty programs.
Under the system being adopted for the next school year, students at Argyle, Handsworth, Seycove, Windsor and Sutherland will attend up to four 70-minute class periods a day from September to January and another four from February to June.
The timetable will include a study block first thing in the morning starting at 8:30 a.m., with a later start to scheduled classes, which will begin around 9:10 a.m.
But students will be waiting an hour longer until lunchtime. Lunchtime will move from the middle of the day to a time slot between the third and fourth classes of the day, from about 12:50 to 1: 50 p.m.
That schedule will allow students who need to travel to get to afternoon classes, including many academies, the time to do so, according to the district.
A linear schedule is being kept for one high school – Carson Graham. At that school, students will take up to eight rotating courses in a timetable from September to June.
The linear system will work better for Carson Graham’s International Baccalaureate program, according to the school district.
Teachers had previously voiced concerns about the International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement programs being run under semester systems, because exams for both are held in May. That would mean a long gap for students taking courses in the first semester, teachers said.
Some other courses that work better on a linear full-year schedule – like music, strength and conditioning courses – may be offered outside the regular timetable, before or after school.
The timetable for Mountainside Secondary – which is home to the district’s alternative school programs – won’t change.
The decision on the semester system comes after an email survey of high school parents and students in January and February revealed over 70 per cent favoured a semester system over other school timetables.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, high schools in North Vancouver ran on a variety of timetable systems. Sutherland, for instance, has always run on a semester system, while Argyle had a linear system.
During the first full school year under the pandemic, secondary schools switched to a cohorted quarter system. In that system, students took fewer courses at one time but classes were longer and students completed them on a concentrated quarter-year schedule before rotating to a new block of classes.