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Lancaster ISD Alters its School Hours for Secondary, Elementary Campuses & Lancaster High School Moves to a Trimester Academic Schedule

This past spring, the Lancaster ISD Board of Trustees approved a recommendation to alter the start and end times for our secondary and elementary schools.

Our new school hours for students are:

Secondary: 7:30 a.m. - 2:45 p.m. (Campus opens at 7 a.m. for student arrival)
Elementary: 8:15 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. (Campus opens at 7 a.m. for student arrival)
 
The committee that developed a plan for the proposed change offered the following rationale for making this shift:

• High school students could potentially take college classes beginning as early as 3 p.m.
• High school students could pursue more work opportunities or internships with a shift beginning as early as 3 p.m.
• Both secondary and elementary students can pursue more leadership opportunities through more clubs and extracurricular activities.
• Both secondary and elementary students can benefit from increased intervention/tutorial opportunities.
• Staff will have more opportunities for professional development and training.
 
In an effort to support improvement initiatives, implement key components of the STEM plan and ensure that our students have ample opportunity to meet the more rigorous graduation requirements, Lancaster ISD has been challenged to look at its current use of time and scheduling of the school day at the secondary level.

After analyzing multiple scheduling options and engaging in a collaborative process, stakeholders decided to move Lancaster High School to a trimester scheduling format. This change will impact students in grades 9-12.

In a trimester schedule, students take classes in three 12-week increments as opposed to six six-week increments.

With the trimester option, students can fit more courses into a school year allowing them to fully participate in electives or pursue more dual credit/college options that they wouldn’t be able to fit into a regular two-semester format. Under the old semester model, students earned 28 credits. In a trimester setting, students can earn up to 30 credits.

Moving to a trimester schedule can help struggling students by giving them more opportunities to repeat a class if necessary and trimesters also provide more opportunities for schools to provide intervention courses for struggling students. Additionally, the daily class period is extended allowing for more time to engage learners.