Westside adopted a modular schedule in the fall of 1967. The old schedule was a traditional six period day. It restricted the number of courses a student could take, placed students in mass study halls, limited the opportunities for students to develop self-reliance, and presented many conflicts when students went into the community for learning experiences.
The decision to change schedules was made after defining what the staff believed about learning and after studying the advantages of both schedules. The Westside staff believed that:
- Students and teachers should have more time during the day to meet on a one-to-one basis.
- Students should be exposed to the fine and practical arts, industrial technology, family and consumer studies, and business courses
- Students should be involved in making decisions regarding their use of time.
- Subject-area resource centers and open laboratories should be developed in place of study halls.
- More opportunities should be provided for students to utilize community resources.
- The program should encourage teachers and administrators to try new approaches to improve the instructional process.
- Students should be able to take more courses.
The staff further believed that these objectives could best be accomplished through a modular schedule with four modes of instruction, called large group, small group, laboratory, and independent study time.
The primary purposes of large group are to gain student and teacher time and to use resources (human and material) that are not normally available for long periods of time. Also, it is here that teachers often present introductory ideas and pose questions which motivate students to prepare for small group discussion. Sometimes large groups are used for testing.
The small group is made up of 12 to 18 students. The purpose of the small group is to provide an opportunity for students to develop communication skills, analytical powers and judgment. Small group discussions are an important aspect of most courses.
To "learn by doing" very concisely sums up the purpose of this mode. In some courses, this will mean practice sessions and skill development. In other areas, this will mean the opportunty to test ideas, to explore, to investigate, and to complete projects.
INDEPENDENT STUDY TIME
All students have a certain amount of time each day when they are not scheduled into classes. This time is called "independent study time". During independent study time, students make decisions about how to best use the time to meet their responsibilities. They may work in instructional materials centers (IMCs) on class assignments or on materials of personal interest. Most students meet regularly with teachers during independent study time for help in a subject or for clarification of assignments. Opportunities for physical activity in open recreation and for socialization with other students are present for everyone, except ninth graders. This time may also be used for conferences with counselors and advisors.
At a time in our society when the age of majority is eighteen years of age, we must help students develop self-reliance. To enhance this development we at Westside are committed to aid each student to learn to effectively use his/her independent study time.