In order to address a massive teacher shortage, the School District of Lee County is changing high schoolers’ class schedules to seven-period days, which will remove 140 educator positions. Teachers are not thrilled with the idea.
District leaders say this change will help address the teacher shortage and save an estimated $10 million, but many high school teachers in the district tell WINK News they believe it will be at their expense.
One high school teacher, who wanted to stay anonymous, says she will lose around 40 minutes of planning per day as a result of this change, adding that high school teachers will be forced to spend more time outside of work grading papers, responding to emails and creating new content. For a district that claims it wants to support its teachers and help them achieve a good work-life balance, she says it seems odd that this decision would be made.
Current LCSD teachers say they are confused by why they were not given a chance to voice their thoughts before this decision was made, especially since this was a change first discussed in 2020 and tabled after pushback from teachers, students and parents.
An LCSD spokesperson says teachers are invited to a private webinar on Wednesday which will allow them to address what this schedule change means for them, but another anonymous high school teacher says it should have happened before this decision was made.
When the Lee County School Board heard the plan during its Tuesday meeting, Interim Superintendent Ken Savage told the board he knows there are both pros and cons regarding this new schedule.
“One of the other concerns that was made had to do with not getting into any in-depth content like calculus and some of these career academies—firefighting, medical… and, again, that is one of the challenges that is perfectly fair,” Savage said. “The trade-off there is the time you do get with the teacher—direct, face-to-face— is definitely increased in this particular model. So, you’re getting more direct experience, which is to increase the level of learning to students who really need it to be explained and have ample opportunity to practice.”