Changes may come to LHS schedule
Fisher Elementary School Construction
Coach Roper in the Hall of Fame
Summer Professional Development
Fisher Playground Construction
Portable additions make for busy summer of maintenance
The makings of the Lynden PTA fair food booth
VanderYacht reflects on new assistant superintendent role
Summer school a chance to get ahead
Getting to know new Isom principal Patrick McClure
Introducing Cyndi Selcho at LMS
LHS Back to School Day on Wednesday
Fisher and Middle School construction update
Jim Frey: A message from the superintendent
Nilsen brings counseling background to LHS admin
Scott Vandenberg leading Lynden Academy
Designing the FFA corn maze
Welcoming new Lynden School District staff
LHS ASB president embraces ‘We Are Here’ mantra
A first-grade perspective on life at school
The new role of Dean of Students
A first-year teacher's perspective
Math takes center stage at LMS
Playground the first ‘treat’ of new Fisher Elementary
Finding inspiration at LHS
Both Lynden school projects moving forward
Isom students put HERO into action
Building literacy at BVE
Making a move: Lynden Academy, preschool to fill City Bible Church
Substitute Bus Drivers Needed
LMS has new plan for parent-teacher conferences
LHS hosting community Multicultural Night
Be the One needs volunteers
When students lead
LHS holds first-ever mock election
Talking safety at Lynden Schools crosswalks
LHS Drama preps new musical while still accepting accolades from last year
Family Community Services welcomes new coordinator
The growth of the Lynden Scholarship Foundation
Extended day learning helps English Language Learners at elementary schools
How Blessing Bags have taken off at Fisher Elementary
LHS SOCK Club making Christmas special
LMS Counselors ‘Start the Ripple’ with sixth graders
Lynden Spotlight: Larrin Weidenaar at LMS
How Lynden handles decisions when the snow comes
Lynden Spotlight: Teacher Tawnee Parcher
LHS honoring 2006-07 State Champions
Lynden Spotlight: Librarian Lori Hortegas
Using robotics for hands-on learning
Lynden Spotlight: Teacher Christy Maberry
Curt Kramme named to football Hall of Fame
Getting excited about writing at BVE
Counselors focus on meaningful skills K-12
Lynden Schools forming Planning Committee
Building Forward: Progress at both Fisher and Lynden Middle School projects
Lynden Spotlight: Feeding LHS with Jill VanderGriend
Watch the Fisher Construction progress
How Lynden will handle missed school days
Lynden students shine at Technic Training Center
Changes may come to LHS schedule
The power of cross-class mentorship
Lynden Spotlight: Living science with Dan Cichowski
Jake Locker adds a bit of pizzazz to Fisher Reading Night
LHS students embracing college on the high school campus
Lynden Spotlight: The outdoors and fifth graders power Nate Hoch
Changes may come to LHS schedule
Posted on 02/28/2017
In all likelihood the six-period day at Lynden High School will vanish after the 2016-17 school year, replaced with an eight-class semester of rotating days. And it all comes from new graduation requirements mandated by the state, bumping credit requirements from 20 to 24.

Let’s walk through where Lynden is now, what the state changes are and where Lynden will go for the 2017-2018 school year.

The state changes
State legislation from about eight years ago that went into effect for the Class of 2019 bumped the credit requirement for Washington State high school students from 20 to 24 credits. But school districts could apply for a maximum of two three-year waiver periods to figure out how the new requirements shifted the way they set up their school day. With the second of those waivers running out this school year, Lynden—and a host of districts across Washington—must make changes to mesh with the new state requirement.

The state’s shift was in an effort to create more in-school experiences for students, getting them college or career ready. The new requirement of students needing to take two years of a foreign language, for example, falls in line with acceptance requirements of four-year universities, but was not previously required by the state. At the same time, the state realized that not every student planned to attend a four-year university, so made allowances for students to instead choose a career personal pathway and substitute more classes—such as an ag tech class at LHS—in lieu of a foreign language. Either way, the state hoped to see more opportunities for high school students.

The state also made one other important change: removing “seat time” requirements. Instead of requiring students take a certain number of hours of class time in order to earn a credit, they left it up to the schools to determine what constitutes a credit.

The current state
The most recent iteration of Lynden’s schedule comes in the form of a six-period day. With the old state graduation requirement of 20 credits needed to graduate, Lynden High School’s requirement of 22 credits surpassed the standard. And the six-period day allows for 24 credits over four years, giving students a touch of wiggle room should they struggle in a class or two.

If Lynden left the six-period day in tact that wiggle room would evaporate. “If a kid failed one semester of a class, they are already off track for graduation,” says Ian Freeman, LHS principal. “We are not encouraging kids to fail a class, but the intent is to always allow for a little wiggle room. I have never seen a school in the state that offers a schedule that is exactly (matched with the state graduation requirement).”

As Lynden weighed options, Freeman says they considered granting credits for advanced classes in middle school, allowing students to pass competency exams to earn credits or adding classes during zero period before school or after school. “One of the things that became pretty clear is that all of these additional options would be great for some kids, but if a kid isn’t on some advanced track, basically we are not adding any options for that kid,” he says. “We pretty quickly determined that for it to be equitable for all students, there had to be options during the school day to get enough credits to graduate.”

So Lynden started investigating schedule changes, looking at what schools across the state had done to comply. With most schools taking advantage of a waiver system that allowed a delay to the changes, a few had already made decisions on how to handle the shift for this year, including Burlington-Edison, Sedro-Woolley and all three of Bellingham’s high schools.

Freeman says they considered about five different schedules seriously.

The changes
Get ready for a four-by-eight, where LHS offers four periods a day, but eight classes a semester. On day one, students would take periods one, two, three and four and then the following school day periods five, six, seven and eight. This is the same schedule Ferndale and Mount Vernon have been on for a decade and what was adopted by all Bellingham high schools, Sedro-Woolley and Burlington.

The new plan gives students the ability to garner 32 credits and makes the “24-credit dilemma a total non-issue,” Freeman says. This change was made possible by the lifting of the seat time requirement.

In the past, Lynden offered a four-period day that allowed for a credit per semester because of the time in class, allowing for eight credits per year, but that was deemed negative because students would often go an entire calendar year without taking core classes again—a first semester math class one year could potentially not be followed up with another math class until the second semester of the following year—and it didn’t allow for any half-credit electives.

Lynden’s graduation requirement will likely fall at 29 or 30, enough to leave a little wiggle room. The reason for the higher-than-the-state requirement, Freeman says, is because “students need opportunities to explore while in high school. They need time to take elective credits.”

If Lynden left the 24 in place, students could finish too early by skipping all electives. “The intent was not to reduce time in high school,” Freeman says, “it was to increase opportunities and experiences during the four years they are here.”

The new schedule will allow for core classes to run an entire school year, worth one credit. But it also gives the flexibility for electives to run one semester, worth half a credit. This opens up the opportunity for new classes, both within the core and electives, whether a second-year calculus class or more sections of advanced art. And expect another world language class for more student choices. Freeman says that the schedule also allows for more interventions, such as having a student take math every single day instead of every other.

“The total pie is the same size,” Freeman says about the changes. “Students are getting four years of high school and the length of the school day is still the same. The total pie is the same, it is just cut into smaller wedges and there are more of them. If a student has a passion, it provides more opportunities over four years to take classes in that area or they can treat it as a variety pack where you are getting 32 different flavors.”