By Kathleen McGinty and Marina Renton
As the teacher contract dispute moves to a “fact-finding” phase, the Warrior Weekly has undertaken a fact-finding mission of its own.
The staff recently contacted representatives from Groton-Dunstable Regional High School and Holliston High School to verify details presented by the School Committee in its Jan. 5 letter to the Andover Townsman, as well as facts later provided to our staff by a representative of the Andover Education Association (AEA).
In its letter to the Townsman, the School Committee referenced four high schools that it considers comparable to Andover High School: Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School, Cohasset High School, Groton-Dunstable Regional High School, and Holliston High School. The School Committee’s letter highlighted what that organization saw as key differences between the current schedule at AHS and the schedules of the four other high schools.
The Warrior Weekly staff was able to contact the Groton-Dunstable and Holliston high schools. Repeated attempts to speak with representatives from Cambridge-Rindge & Latin and Cohasset High were unsuccessful.
Groton-Dunstable Regional High School
- Groton-Dunstable Regional uses a 4 x 4 block schedule (four blocks per semester). By contract, teachers teach three courses per day. The primary schedule difference between Groton-Dunstable and AHS is the fact that some of the Groton-Dunstable classes only meet for one term. (Groton-Dunstable divides its semesters into two terms, as does AHS.) Therefore, teachers teach between 3 and 6 courses each semester.
- Teachers are not required to fulfill any duty periods; they are teaching three periods a day, and the fourth is a planning block.
- There is an advisory period a couple of times a month that teachers supervise; this period has academic-driven criteria.
- Groton-Dunstable Regional has no maximum class size, so sometimes classes can have more than 30 students in them, but they tend to be in the high 20s, like at AHS. There are 872 students enrolled.
Holliston High School
- Similar to Groton-Dunstable, Holliston High runs on a 4 x 4 block schedule under which teachers are required by contract to teach three courses per semester. The year is broken into two semesters, meaning teachers instruct six classes total in one school year, and they are given one planning period a day that lasts approximately 77 minutes. Additionally, teachers are not required to fulfill duty periods.
- Unlike at AHS, teachers at Holliston are obligated to preside over advisory periods at the end of second block. These advisory periods do not count as instructional time.
- The average class size is 25 students, and there are currently 825 students attending Holliston High School.
In conclusion, both Groton-Dunstable Regional High School and Holliston High School follow a schedule similar to that of Andover High School. However, the number of courses taught by teachers, the inclusion of advisory periods, and the number of students enrolled differs among these designated comparable schools and AHS.