KANKAKEE — After the first two months of the 2021-22 school year were swamped with scheduling problems, Kankakee High School will be back to a more traditional-looking schedule starting Monday.
KHS hosted conferences Wednesday for parents to get information and talk with guidance counselors and administrators about the schedule. The conferences continue today from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., with a parent meeting in the auditorium set for 6 p.m.
In addition, students will be able to meet one-on-one with their counselors next week.
Superintendent Genevra Walters reviewed plans for implementing the emergency schedule for the rest of the 2021-22 school year during Tuesday’s Kankakee School Board meeting.
Walters led a team in creating the schedule after a new scheduling system implemented this year did not go according to plan.
Students, parents and community members have expressed frustration and confusion over gaps of unstructured time in students’ schedules and overlapping courses that remained unresolved weeks into the school year.
The high school’s educational quality has also been called into question, with the Illinois State Board of Education indicating it would provide support in response to a parent complaint.
Walters said the scheduling team — consisting of Instructional Technology Supervisor Dan Dannenberg, Manager of Information Systems Joel Margliano, and school guidance counselors — projected that the emergency schedule would be in place by January, but the goal was to have it ready sooner.
The Skyward database was used to streamline the process, though this type of project normally would take about six months, she said.
“They worked literally seven days a week for the last four weeks to get this done,” Walters said.
The scheduling team officially turned the schedule over to the high school on Tuesday, she said. The high school team will spend the next few days making final tweaks to the schedule, which will go live for parents and students at the end of the day Friday.
Parents are asked to go to high school guidance counselors and administrators with specific scheduling questions going forward.
Walters said the first time the scheduling team ran the emergency schedule through the database, 3 percent of courses/activities had conflicts.
They ran it through again and fixed as many as possible, but any remaining issues will have to be solved at the high school level, she said.
“There’s just some nuances about the high school that the scheduling team wouldn’t know,” Walters said.
The emergency schedule includes optional 20-minute flex mods at the beginning, middle and end of the school day.
The first flex mod is at 7:10 a.m., and the first regular class period starts at 7:35 a.m. Class periods are 40 minutes long.
Fifth through eighth periods are divided into eight 20-minute lunches/ independent study halls, and these times have the option to be used as flex mods as well.
Dismissal time will be at 2:25 p.m. after the ninth class period/flex mod times ends. Late classes will be held during the 10th period from 3 to 3:45 p.m.
The high school will not have a Kay Day/colloquial day with the emergency schedule.
Throughout the district, K-6 schools have Kay Days once per month, and Kankakee Junior High School has a Kay Day once per week.
Some courses could not be run during a full class period because less than 15 students had signed up to take them.
Students will be able to take some of those courses during the flex mod times, independent study hall, or 10th period.
Walters said the high school counselors will begin reviewing second semester courses the first week of November. The school will also start the process of getting students’ course requests for the 2022-23 school year in November.
The expectation is that 100 percent of students have their course requests entered into Skyward no later than January, she said.
The goal is that the current scheduling team will have the 2022-23 schedule completed and turned over to the high school by May 1.
“Instead of having three days to resolve the issues, the high school will have the entire summer to resolve any minor issues and make adjustments,” she added.
Board members asked about whether flex mod scheduling would be back in place next school year.
Walters said the high school team and scheduling team would have to decide how next school year will look by Nov. 15. Regardless of the format, the bulk of the work to prepare the schedule needs to be done through Skyward, she added.