Stiff parental opposition couldn't dissuade the Region 12 Board of Education from making a move most members feel is in the best interest of the students.
In a 10 to 2 vote Monday, the board approved the change from block to flexible class scheduling for Shepaug Valley High School.
The change will take effect with the 2013-14 school year.
"I'm in favor of some of the advantages," Ms. Lott said. "But I still have a lot of questions."
"I'm not convinced yet," Mrs. Andersen said. "I think we're moving too fast -- maybe in the right direction, but too fast."
The change will put the high school on the same class schedule as the grades 6-8 middle school, which is also housed in the South Street building.
The decision will facilitate a sharing of teacher resources and potentially create a smoother 6th- through 12th-grade learning transition -- a transition the state is now mandating in education.
Dr. Pat Cosentino, the first-year superintendent of schools, believes the change will help facilitate necessary corrections in a system which is "broken in many ways."
"I'm not anti-block, but the block scheduling does not work for all students," Dr. Cosentino said.
"This system is broken in so many ways and I'm seeing this" since coming to the district several months ago.
She said the schedule change would allow:
state mandated scientific research base intervention for faltering students;
a period in the day when teachers could gather in professional collaboration;
insure continuous instruction in math, science and languages;
bring special education students into more class periods with their non-challenged peers, as demanded by the state; and
add more time to middle school class periods.
"We have all been looking into this very carefully," said board member Alan Brown.
"I realize the stress this has been causing many (parents) ... but we are not doing this capriciously."
Shepaug Valley High School was a regional leader in adopting block scheduling.
Many Region 12 parents credit block scheduling, with its longer and fewer class periods, as being responsible for their children's academic success.
"You have a Faberge egg here and you want to make omelettes," argued Sherman parent Kate McConaghy.
"With block scheduling you can channel your child into whatever avenue they want to go down from their freshman year," said Bridgewater parent Sara Taylor.
Many Shepaug students are uncertain about the change. A petition opposing the change, signed by 167 high school students, was presented to the board by Shepaug junior Dana Walker.
"Education goes far beyond presenting curriculum," Dana said. "The connection with your teacher is very important. Teachers now have the opportunity to approach every student individually."
Board member Greg Cava said he compared Region 12 CAPT and CMT scores with those of other school districts in the same demographic grouping.
The comparison, he said, was "dismal."
In math, science, and writing scores, Shepaug students fell significantly below students in Weston, Wilton or Ridgefield, he said, although others argued the pool of results wasn't sufficient to draw such changes.
"We're not doing nearly as well as people think we are here," Mr. Cava argued. "We need to be shaken out of this stupor. This school was designated a Blue Ribbon School before block scheduling came in."