Next year's class of seventh-graders at Dixon Middle School will receive more individual attention under the school's new team-teaching concept.
That idea is at the heart of a plan unanimously approved by the Provo School Board this week.Seventh-grade teachers will be assigned in teams of four to teach 130 to 140 students basic core classes: math, science, social studies and English. Teachers will divide the students into regular or advanced classes to accommodate varying educational needs. Students will still be able to select three elective courses under the seven-period daily schedule.
Principal Bob Gentry said the new program will allow teachers to know students and "know them well." Known as the "middle school concept," the plan will better meet the social, emotional and academic needs of students, Gentry said. It will also help students make the transition to high school, he said.
Assistant Principal Peggy Roland called it a "child-centered" concept. A typical junior high school is "content-centered," she said. Sometimes that content is taught at the expense of the child, Roland said.
Teaching teams will also divide students into groups to be supervised by advisers.
A survey showed 72 percent of the 47-member Dixon faculty support the plan.
Hal Johnson, an English teacher, said it allows the four teachers to get together to discuss the needs of specific students.
Board member David Weight is excited about the new schedule. "I've been wanting it to happen sooner than it has. It think it's time to move," he told the board.
The school day will consist of seven 45-minute classes, a 20-minute advisory period and a 30-minute lunch. According to the plan, students will get the equivalent of 14 more days of instruction per year.
Gentry projects the eighth grade to be on the block schedule for the 1992-93 school year. The school would need four to five more teachers at a cost of about $180,000 to get the plan started in the eighth grade.
Board President Mossi White said it is only being implemented for seventh-graders due to a tight budget.