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State Supreme Court schedules conference on Hope High

January 28, 2011

Students fighting a schedule change at Hope High School have their first conference Monday with the State Supreme Court.

An attorney for the students has challenged the schedule on the grounds that it reduces teacher meeting and planning by roughly 90 minutes each week.

The State Board of Regents ruled in favor of the students, saying the Providence school district violated state regulations, which expressly prohibit reductions in common planning time.

The board also ruled that Hope can finish out the school year under the current schedule to avoid disruptions.

Miriam Weizenbaum, the students’ attorney, says the ruling is unfair to her clients.

“My clients are seniors,” Weizenbaum said. “By next year my clients will no longer be students at Hope High School and will have lost the entire opportunity to take advantage of their rights.”

Weizenbaum has asked the State Supreme Court to overturn the portion of the Regents’ decision that delays fixing the schedule. The court has not yet said whether it will take up the case, but an initial conference has been scheduled for Monday afternoon.

Nearly six years ago, state officials ordered an overhaul of Hope High School to address problems like low test scores and violent student behavior.

The re-design included what’s known as a block schedule with four, 90-minute class periods each day. Some students credit the schedule with improving relationships with teachers and boosting test scores.

Providence school officials say the test score gains were not as high as they had hoped to see. Last year they ordered Hope to move to a six-period schedule, which is used by other high schools in the district.

Update: after meeting with the court, an attorney for Hope High students says the court will hold a conference and have a decision on February 10th.

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