GHHS plans change to semesters

Grand Haven High School students' schedules for the next school year will look a bit different.
Krystle Wagner
Feb 17, 2014


For the past six years, classes ran on a 12-week trimester schedule. In the fall, staff and students will transition into two 18-week semesters.

The change comes after two years of researching and discussing how to better meet academic requirements.

In addition to comparing semester and trimester grades, final exam grades, attendance, discipline, graduation rates and more, Grand Haven High School Principal Tracy Wilson said administrators also looked at the reasons why they switched to a trimester schedule, and how required state mandates have impacted their ability to stay with a trimester schedule.

When Grand Haven switched to the trimester schedule for the 2008-09 school year, some state requirements — such as Common Core State Standards, Smarter Balanced Assessment, required student growth measurements and a new state accountability system — were not yet in place.

Wilson said the school initially switched to trimesters to meet the demands of the Michigan Merit Curriculum, which required high school graduates to take algebra II, chemistry, physics and world languages. Since then, the district offers opportunities for seventh- and eighth-graders to earn high school credit for algebra I, geometry and world languages.

“We have just found that 24 weeks in a school year is not enough time to take care of these mandates for our core required classes,” Wilson explained. “The 36-week option is much needed.”

In the fall, a committee of 23 high school staff members was formed to look at the school’s future and ways to enhance learning. For five weeks, the committee broke into three subcommittees to look at seminar-style learning, blended and online learning, and building schedules.

Wilson said semesters allow for about 40 hours of instruction (or about six weeks) in year-long courses, and they believe a semester model can better meet the full-time equivalent levels for staff and students.

The change also allows creating programs for face-to-face and online learning. The courses will be open to juniors and seniors.

Wilson said many schools have returned to semester schedules.

“This certainly is a change, but not something we are unfamiliar with, and we are confident that this will be a smooth transition for our students,” she said.

Some Grand Haven High School students oppose the switch.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.



you mean,schedules for the (next school year) will look different ?


so the school year will be longer, 24 weeks to 36 weeks ? some schools out west go year around like arizona.


No, it means that core classes that are now 24 weeks (2 trimesters) will now be the full year or 36 weeks. This kind if stinks, in that students will have less opportunity to retake a class if needed and will eliminate a lot of elective courses. For instance, if a student takes a music, like band and a foreign language they will be unable to take any other electives. My freshman son is unhappy about it. He had to switch to Lakeshore for 1 year due to the reconfiguration and now he only gets 1 year on the trimester schedule. Most the students prefer tri' s,


It is more like what they will experience in life, I'd like to work 24 weeks and call it a "year". Although I'm not a total fan of all aspects of common core I feel it will better prepare students for the time they are not students and become "employees" punching the proverbial clock.

Barry Soetoro

I'm glad they spent all that money to switch to trimesters. And they want 35 million more?

Former Grandhavenite

Even being generally pro-choice it's hard to justify ending the third trimester so I'm not sure how I feel on this.

I never realized they'd made the switch from semesters back in 2008, but I'd probably have liked it as a student if it gives more flexibility for electives and retaking classes.

Now if I can just train myself to stop calling the place south of town the 'new' high school. It was mind blowing the other day to realize that someone born the day it opened is now an upperclassman there or perhaps graduated. Another few years and some of those folks will be standing in front of the classroom instead of being the one sitting at a desk.

John Manning

This has nothing to do with providing a better education and everything to do with saving money. If they switch to semesters they can eliminate teaching positions. Why do you think other districts made this switch the last few years?????


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