Thursday, March 5: OUSD announces Nordhoff High schedule change from 7 periods to 6 for 10th through 12th grades

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Nordhoff High School administration announced Thursday morning, March 5, a change from seven periods to six in the school day for 10th through 12th grades. A letter to parents, guardians and students was sent through the school district's "Parent Square" online communication site.
A parent meeting on the issue is scheduled for Monday, March 9, at 6 p.m. at Nordhoff High School, 1401 Maricopa Highway, Ojai.

To view the Wednesday, March 11, school board meeting agenda, visit:

Assistant Superintendent Sherrill Knox stated in a response on the Ojai Valley News Facebook comments to parent questions about the change that there will be a parent meeting on Monday evening. She wrote that the Nordhoff High School principal will be sending a message with the time and location of the meeting and "we look forward to clearing up many misconceptions."
When the OUSD March 11 agenda was sent out Friday, March 6, the Nordhoff High schedule change was not its own item on the agenda. The agenda was amended on Saturday, March 7, to include the schedule change, which was listed as an "information" item. On Sunday afternoon, March 8, the agenda for the meeting was revised so the schedule change is now listed on the agenda as an "action" item that "staff recommends."
After the first notice about the schedule change was texted and emailed by the Ojai Unified School District administration on Thursday, March 5, at 7:42 a.m., the administration sent a second text and email at 10:37 a.m. about "Schedule changes."


The second OUSD message sent Thursday, March 5, at 10:37 a.m., reads:


Dear NHS, 

"After we began the registration process yesterday (March 4), it became clear that we should have done a better job of communicating about next year in advance. 

"Staff and administration met daily over the last week to discuss the nuances of recommending a six period day for most students. This is not a unilateral decision, and it quickly became clear that every student's situation is unique and there are multiple factors to consider including grade level, credits needed to graduate, whether or not students are in a CTE pathway, NCAA, and others. Because of this, we made the decision that we would work with students directly, so that counselors could work through individual graduation plans with students. As part of this preparation, we created an appeals process so that we can try and accommodate students who really want to take a seven-period day and can't take advantage of summer school or other new online options. 

"In retrospect, we should have communicated better in advance and I apologize. In trying to limit confusion we inadvertently created confusion. We are working diligently over the next few days with students to help them understand their options, get them the classes that they need, and to clear up confusion. Parents have already received an overview from Principal Dave Monson, sent out earlier today. We are responding to individual questions as quickly as we can and revisiting with students who need assistance. 

"Dr. Tiffany Morse, Superintendent"


The first message on Thursday, March 5, at 7:42 a.m., reads: 


"Dear parents, guardians and students,

"This year NHS has begun a transition to a 6-period day as a recommendation for 10th, 11th and 12th grade students.  There are several reasons we are offering this option next year.  Like nearly all districts around the state, we are facing a budget deficit in the 2020-21 school year due to increased costs and flat school funding. Recommending that students take 6 classes instead of 7 will help reduce district expenditures.  Six-period days are the norm in high schools in Ventura County. This change is also part of our transition to a delayed start as required by law in the 2021-22 school year, which will not allow for 7 periods. Finally, we have also had feedback from stakeholder groups, including students, that there is a concern that students are over stressed in high school. Overscheduling kids contributes to this stress and is unnecessary since students do not need to enroll in more than 6 classes each year to meet their high school and college requirements. For most students, a 6-period day throughout the school year will reduce stress while still allowing them courses to meet all of their high school requirements and remain competitive for college. This can also allow some students the option of a delayed start or early release.

"We are committed to ensuring that students have access to a robust course of study. We are offering new online programming next year for classes that we don't currently offer such as AP World History. We have also created a summer school acceleration program, which will allow high school students to take extra course options throughout their high school career. Counselors are meeting with students individually as part of the registration process, and determining the best schedule for them to meet their individual goals next year. There are many factors that go into play including grade level, if students are in a pathway, NCAA, credits needed to graduate, and others. It is only by working directly with the student and their graduation plan that we can make these decisions - and answer questions.

"We know that change is difficult. However, there are positive opportunities as part of this change including reduced stress for students, new course opportunities, and summer options. We are here to individually work with families to create the best schedule for students."


On March 5, OUSD Assistant Superintendent Sherrill Knox posted on the Ojai Valley News Facebook page comments about the Nordhoff schedule change:
"To all of the concerned parents who have posted messages, I am the assistant superintendent for OUSD and I was an integral part in making this decision with Dr. Morse. There are many examples across the county of how this scheduling scenario we are now proposing for NHS works well for students. Additionally, we have progressive ways to make sure students can have what they want beyond what is offered to them during the year. 
"I am a graduate of Nordhoff, have children in the district and have worked in the county for 20 years as a professional educator. Trust me when I tell you we would not have made this decision if we thought it would hurt students or erode programming. I welcome any parents to contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to set up individual meetings to discuss globally why this concept works and individually how we can continue to meet the needs of your student in a robust way. We are sorry for any communication errors that have caused this to be a painful process but we are here now to help walk you through the details of this change. Sincerely, Sherrill"


The next OUSD school board meeting is Wednesday, March 11, at 5:30 p.m. in the school board room, 414 E. Ojai Ave. The Ojai Unified School District website is: . The phone number for OUSD is 805-640-4300.

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