Schedule mixups sideline students in Gary classrooms
By Carole Carlson firstname.lastname@example.org/648-3154 August 28, 2012 9:18PM
Updated: September 30, 2012 6:30AM
GARY — Two weeks after school started, high school students and parents complained to the School Board on Tuesday that their new trimester schedules are still in disarray.
“Kids have been in school for 10 days. That’s 350 minutes of instruction they lost,” said West Side Leadership Academy parent Patricia Duckworth. “The schedules are not fixed. My child’s schedule has been changed six times. We don’t know what her classes are. Where’s the accountability?”
Gary Community School Corp. spokeswoman Sarita Stevens said the problem lies with the new scheduling software the district began using this year, called SunGard.
Stevens said when the district made the switch from its previous company, RDS, many of the administrators familiar with SunGard departed or retired from the district. She said many students’ schedules now have to be done by hand.
“I’m appalled at the lack of schedules at my school,” said Tatiana Taylor, a senior at Wirt-Emerson School for Visual and Performing Arts. “If we’re going to be on trimesters, we need to be organized. We sit in class for 70 minutes a day and do nothing.”
A West Side student said her schedule has been changed six times and she’s worried the lost class time will keep her from being accepted at a college. “At graduation, I want to walk across the stage with my head high, not low and wondering if we have requirements for graduation.”
As they did at the Aug. 14 meeting, board members apologized for the problems they said were inherited by Superintendent Cheryl Pruitt from the previous administration.
Board member Ken Stalling said his son, a Wirt-Emerson student attended school more than a week without a schedule.
“It appears there was a lack of comprehensive planning,” board member Barbara Leek said.
Meanwhile, Lew Wallace Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Academy cheerleading sponsor Carol Witvoet and cheerleading captain Jalynn Leavy, told the board they’re no longer provided transportation to attend away football games.
Witvoet said the cheerleaders learned they could travel only to games in Gary.
“We ask you to reconsider. They cheer, they have school spirit and they bring crowds together at games,” Witvoet said.
Leek said the board’s curriculum committee would take up the matter and try to fix it at its meeting later this week.