Group advocates for block schedule over seven-period day; district recognizes Teacher Appreciation Week

ATASCADERO — Atascadero Unified School District (AUSD) met for their regularly scheduled board meeting on Tuesday, May 3, at 7 p.m. following their 6 p.m. Closed Session.

Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Kurt Eichperger gave out recognitions for both Classified Employee of the Year 2021-22 and Teacher of the Year 2021-22. 

Brittaney Miller was recognized as the Classified Employee of the Year for the 2021-22 school year.

Getting through this together, Atascadero

“In terms of the COVID years, if you will, because it was not just one year, it was two that our technology staff supported our school sites and helped everything from online integration of new programs to making sure student participation was being documented appropriately in area,” Eichperger said. “So even though we weren’t taking attendance, we were still making sure the students were engaged. The Technology Department played a huge part in that. Brittaney was instrumental in supporting school sites and making sure that those processes went as smoothly as they could possibly go.”

Dorothy Wagster was then recognized as the Teacher of the Year for the 2021-22 school year.

“So speaking to those COVID years, we did have, not just the need for technology, but we had this huge growth in need for support of alternative programs,” Eichperger continued. “Our teacher [Wagster] became a teacher of teachers, supporting this influx of staff for a program that Dorothy had been instrumental in making sure it ran smoothly. Now her peers became her students, and she supported them so that they could have those rich and nourishing relationships with their students.”

Oral Communication from the Public once again had students from Atascadero High School (AHS) come forward, asking the board to release surveys about the school’s current schedule. 

All five students who addressed the school board commented on how the switch from the block schedule at AHS to the seven-period schedule has affected them.

“I’m requesting that a student and parent survey is sent out in order to get feedback on what schedule AHS should adopt next year,” said one AHS junior. “I believe that the seven-period schedule is not ideal. We are so, so tired. The following reasons are why I hope that our school will be able to go back to a block, or modified block schedule that benefits the needs and desires of students and teachers.”

She went on to give the following reasons the seven-period schedule is not beneficial: increased workloads for students and teachers, the periods being too short for labs, less time for homework for everyone, especially athletes, and the elimination of study hall.

Laurie Ferguson, a psychologist with children in the school system, also addressed the board on the seven-period schedule and its stress on students.

The Board of Trustees thanked the students for coming to the meeting and asking for what they would like to see going forward. 

During his Superintendent Report, Tom Butler announced that the Atascadero High School Greybots took home the third-place win at the World Championships. 

The minutes for the April 19 meeting and the Consent Agenda both passed unanimously, including a donation from Mrs. Elizabeth Howard-Lola Red Design to the Atascadero Fine Arts Academy for $250. 

The next three items on the agenda were in regards to the upcoming AUSD fall election. All three passed unanimously.

Trustee Tami Gunther read a proclamation declaring May 2-6 as Teacher Appreciation Week.   

The Atascadero Unified School District’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 17, at 7 p.m.