Changes for the 18 - 19 School Year

  • Our schedule is changing. Why is the schedule changing?

    The schedule is changing to provide more flexibility when creating student schedules. In its current design, students are limited to when they take certain courses because of the time limitations. The schedule will still have 7 periods, with 2 of the periods as electives and each class will remain at 48 minutes. The start and end times for school will also remain the same with classes starting at 8:35am and the school day ending at 3:15pm.

    What’s different?

    • What’s different in the new schedule is that content area teachers will now teach 5 sections of their subject versus 4. This will reduce the number of students in each class from 25-28 to 20-22. Content teachers will no longer offer Discovery.
    • Content area teachers will also have common plan time that will allow them to meet and work together as a collaborative learning team (CLT).
    • Students will also have PE/Health every day.
    • There are new elective options for students that include Introduction to Orchestra, Technology Education, Algebra and Study Hall. Descriptions for these new courses can be found in the Course Selection Guide. A hard copy has been sent home with each child but you can also find an electronic version on the Hixson website.
    • Wait-Algebra as an elective? Yes, based on the district assessments, if your child did not meet the requirements to take Algebra as their math course, he/she may still take the course alongside the math course recommended as an elective. This will create two math classes on the student’s schedule and take the place of one election choice.
    • The new Course Selection Guide will be an IMPORTANT factor in determining how we build our schedule. Students need to talk over all the elective options with parents to determine what will be the best choices. On the new form, there are 3 options in which a student can design their elective schedule. Please pick ONE We will do our best to honor all first choices but please list alternates. Once elective choices are made, the schedule will be finalized. The elective options are listed below and students are asked to pick one option to create their elective choices:
      • Option 1: TWO full-year classes
      • Option 2: FOUR semester classes
      • Option 3: ONE full-year class and TWO semester classes
    • When schedules go live next August, the student schedule will be complete and set for the year. Unlike in the past, there will not be any blank classes and last minute scheduling to try and find space in an elective class.
    • If you have any concerns about scheduling for your child, please reach out to your grade level principal and counselor before the end of the school year.

    Every day PE/Health? How will PE/Health be different?

    • Students will now have PE/Health every day and will be able to explore the PE Units in more depth without being rushed to get through the content. Ultimately, the goal of PE/Health is to foster a love of physical activity for kids. Students will rotate between PE and Health class. Once the rotation schedule is created, it will be communicated with parents in the next school year.
    • Students will still be required to dress out each day for hygienic reasons. There will be a change to the dress code and students will be permitted to wear leggings/yoga pants as part of the gym uniform.

    How will teams be different? Why did you change the teams?

    • Next year, teams will be made up of an English Language Arts, Science and Social Studies teacher. The Math teacher will no longer be on team and instead will be part of a department.
    • Math teachers are no longer on team because of the multiple math journeys possible for a student. Students in both 7th and 8th grade have three possible math journeys (please see course selection guide), making it difficult to keep a math teacher connected to just one team. Instead, math teachers will be able to have teaming time with their respective grades to allow them to collaborate with all the teams.
    • There will be 3 teams in each grade and we will be working with the teachers to finalize each team name. In each grade level, there will be two teams of three teachers and one team of five teachers. This change was made to accommodate the changes made to the overall schedule. The class sizes on all three teams will be the same. Once the new teams are solidified, the names of the teams and teachers on the teams will be shared.

    What’s going on with GEMS?

    • GEMS will continue to be offered through Social Studies classes. GEMS students will not lose an elective choice and all incoming 7th grade GEMS students will be in GEMS Social Studies.
    • Current GEMS students going into 8th grade next year who opted out of GEMS Social Studies will continue to receive their GEMS programming as they are now.
    • The Gifted program is beginning its 2 year district level review and parents are invited to be a part of the review.

    Wait, what about GFA (Gifted Fine Arts)?

    • GFA students will no longer miss blocks of their classes one day a week; instead, they will have GFA alternate with PE/Health, every other day.

    What does technology look like at Hixson?

    Hixson Middle will continue the one to one access to Chromebooks in the 2018-2019 school year. However, the Chromebooks will no longer be issued individually to go home. Students will have one to one access to technology in each class. Families will no longer need to pay for the insurance option and students may also bring their own device from home to school. Students will still sign the Acceptable Use Procedure (AUP) agreement for the district.

    Why are you moving away from the 1 to 1 Chromebook program?

    Chromebooks will no longer go home because of the increase in damage to the devices outside of school. The quality of Chromebooks has been impacted by the increase in damage, compromising the machines and access for all our students.