A new middle school model was recommended at Tuesday's Anchorage School Board meeting.

The mid-level committee introduced the proposal for teachers in mid-level schools to teach for five periods out of a seven-period day.

The committee comprises teachers, staff and administrators within ASD. In a letter to the board, co-chairs said the committee appreciated the trust put in them.

"This was not an easy task but one the committee took to heart to solve for the  betterment of students and the District," the letter reads. "The School Board did not have to engage in this collaborative decision-making model and the committee members are extremely grateful for the opportunity."

With this plan, the committee says teachers will have two periods during which they are not in direct instruction with students, one for personal planning and a second for collaboration with other staff, meeting significant needs of building stronger relationships with students and families.

Nancy Neil, a teacher at Hanshew Middle School and a co-chair on the committee, says the new model will help everyone involved.

"It's for the kids," Neil said. "It's right for the kids and I do understand there are budget constraints, and I just really hope you consider this it would be really beneficial for the administrators, the teachers, kids and parents to go back to a 5 of 7 schedule."

The change will cost approximately $3.3 million if done with the current mid-level student-to-teacher ratios, according to the report. To account for the discrepancy, the committee also recommended adjusting the ratio to match funding model for high schools, which could make classes larger but would only cost $200,000 to roll out the new schedule.

Neil says under the new plan class sizes might be a bit bigger, by maybe three or four students.

Committee co-chairs say the new model will help provide an appropriate and varied educational program for ASD students, as well as help teachers grow professionally.

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