Roosevelt Middle School unveils new seventh period

Roosevelt Middle School debuted an extra period this week, a move educators say will give students more time to take electives or receive targeted intervention in math or English.

Roosevelt Principal Mary Mason said teachers felt the old six-period system didn't give enough time to work with students who needed extra help.

A regular school day now begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 3:05 p.m., 15 minutes longer than before, which adds up to about 50 more hours of instruction per year. Each period shifted from lasting 55 minutes to 50.

This gives the school's language arts and math intervention teachers more time to work with students during the school day, as opposed to after the final bell.

"It's going to be a real boost for our students because we know that the classroom teacher within the school day is the best intervention a student can have, and we're going to be able to make that happen," Mason said.

English learners at the school were previously unable to take electives because they were required to take two periods of language arts.

Students who could previously take one elective can now enroll in two.

According to the most recent state data available, nearly 50% of the school's 800 students in 2012-13 were English learners. Meanwhile, 88% of them were socioeconomically disadvantaged, meaning they came from low-income homes or their parents did not have high school diplomas.

Teachers this year will also hold office hours once per week to meet with parents or call students' homes to offer updates on their children, and educators hope parents will increasingly engage with teachers during that extra window of time.

"The seventh period day is really a win-win for everyone at the school site," Mason said.

Last year, when parents were surveyed over whether they would support the extra time, 78% of them were for it, Mason added.

For outgoing school board President Mary Boger, the greatest perk of the extra period are the 30 electives students can choose from as they experiment with subjects that will be offered down the line in high school, including engineering, photography, television production and environmental science classes, among others.

Boger attended her last board meeting on Aug. 12, but does not formally step down until Aug. 31.

"All of these opportunities in the electives provide these kids a place to belong when they get to Glendale high school," she said.

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