Teacher resigns as schedule set to change
RINDGE — The implementation of a seven-hour hybrid schedule at Conant High School has caused controversy among staff. Science teacher Bryan Field of Peterborough presented his letter of resignation at Monday’s School Board, and referred to the new schedule as the cause for his departure.
In his letter, directed to Acting Principal of Conant High School Lawrence Pimental, Field stated, “I have always embraced change; however, I am leaving because I really feel that the new schedule is not a progressive move. I am not comfortable moving backwards, nor I am comfortable with the way the change was made.”
Pimental declined to comment on Field’s resignation. He said the new schedule is “nothing too unusual.” According to Pimental, with the new schedule, start and end times for Conant students will remain the same. “We are just changing what we do during that time,” Pimental said.
The new schedule will combine a 7-period schedule three days a week and a block schedule two days a week. Jaffrey-Rindge School District Supt. James O’Neill explained the new schedule will allow the high school to offer yearlong courses rather than half-year courses. “We believe that a seven-period schedule will give the students the opportunity to experience a wider variety of courses,” O’Neill said.
O’Neil said the block schedule that will occur twice a week will allow for courses that require longer periods to complete some activities successfully. Conant will also move from having three lunch periods to two next year.
Regarding Field’s resignation, O’Neill noted there was a concern coming from the Science Department regarding the time periods for labs. “Some people felt that their program will work better if their course had more time every day,” O’Neill said.
He said the seven-block schedule would change the laboratory time to once a week. “[Field] felt that he wanted to work in a block schedule because that worked for his pedagogical practices,” O’Neill said.
The School Board approved the new schedule on Dec. 3, 2012 and, following a recommendation of the Conant High School Scheduling Committee, decided the new schedule would be implemented in the 2014-2015 school year.
According to the minutes of the December meeting, the scheduling committee presented several other recommendations to cope with the transition, including an implementation team to guide the high school through the transition. The team includes four to six teachers, the principal, the guidance counselor and the School Board liaison.
Field has been a teacher at Conant for the last 18 years.
“The district has been good to me and I hope that I have been an asset to the district,” Field wrote in closing his resignation letter.
He also noted that he will miss the students, parents and colleagues he’s worked with in the school district, and offered to help with the transition.
Field started a “makers club” at the high school in the last year, to give students a makerspace experience after school. The club is also open to middle school students. The program has been supported through fundraising efforts.