Students balance safety and arts in DHR decision

Abigail Gower

Staff Writer

When Duval County Public Schools students returned to class in August, they had to choose between attending classes on campus two days a week and virtually the other three, known as hybrid learning, or completely online through the new Duval HomeRoom program.

Regardless of which option students chose, many Douglas Anderson students ended up with fewer arts area classes than they expected.

“There’s not enough students in every arts area and level for multiple classes,” said Jacquelyn Cinotti, assistant principal, who was in charge of curriculum until this year.

“Each Duval HomeRoom section made takes away a Hybrid class,” Cinotti said. And since 30 percent of the DA student body attends Duval HomeRoom, she and Jeremy Franklin, newly hired head of curriculum, had to create classes that appeal to a variety of students.

The decision to limit arts classes was announced on DA’s website. It stated that “In [Duval HomeRoom], electives are extremely limited. This makes it very complicated for magnet schools with specialized courses.”

“I was not aware until the week of school,” said Michael Walker, Band senior. “I thought I was going to be able to get all eight classes. I only got six.”

Some students were missing courses they needed to take. While most DA students understood this would be the case with their arts classes, it was less expected with academic classes.

“I really need those classes, so I had to switch schools,” said Lilian Wagnon, a junior.

Wagnon was a DA student but enrolled in St. Johns County Schools this year after learning the science class she wanted would only be offered to seniors.

Administrators at DA said they intend to give Duval HomeRoom their full eight classes when they return to campus.

“It’s difficult since you’re making two different kinds of schedules,” Cinotti said.

Cinotti and Franklin said they tried many ways to to create schedules this year. They tried to schedule arts classes first, and when that didn’t work they tried to schedule by grade level, and then again by Duval HomeRoom sections.

“[Scheduling is] a nightmare,” Franklin said. “It’s constantly changing.”

Staff writer Mia Parola contributed to this story.

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