Principals Sweat Details For Two-Shift High School

For students at Lake Washington and Redmond high schools this fall, it's going to be details with a capital "D" - and that rhymes with "C," and that stands for complex, confounded, confused.

Devising a double-shift schedule at Redmond High to accommodate two student bodies instead of one is just the first piece of a puzzle of details administrators must put together to bridge the six-to-eight-week delay in completing the $7 million Lake Washington High remodeling project.

Come Sept. 1, the 1,500 Lake Washington High and 1,700 Redmond High students will split Mondays - Redmond in the morning shift, Lake Washington in the afternoon - and alternate the remaining days, with each student attending classes three days a week.

That schedule will last as long as it takes the Lusardi Construction Co., hired by the Reliance Surety Co. to finish the job the Gordon Kruse Construction Co. of Seattle quit last month.

"When you start thinking of scheduling, it's like dominoes, one thing leads to another," said Al Kovats, Redmond High principal. Kovats and Lake Washington High Principal Paul Gentle have been the on-site detail men, figuring out who will share which rooms and where and when everyone will come and go and park.

"What we are trying to do is polish up details," Kovats said. "A lot of things will not surface until we start school."

Here are a few.

-- Who's driving the students? The district plans to add 10 school-bus routes with pickups interspersed four to five blocks from students' homes. The first pickup will be at 6:30 a.m. and the last drop-off at 6 p.m., according to Alice Jordan, transportation supervisor. The district was able to devise the plan in one day through a transportation computer program that selected the routes and times.

-- Who gets the lockers? Redmond students. Redmond halls will continue to be decked out in the mascot Mustangs' green and gold, Kovats said. The Lake Washington Kangaroos will have to wear their coats, carry their books and keep their school colors - purple and white - portable.

-- But what happens if the Lake Washington High students have to celebrate their Oct. 30 homecoming game, which is played against Redmond High School, at Redmond High? Any chance the Lake Washington students can get a waiver to hang the purple and white for the week? Time will tell.

-- Where will all the teachers work and put their stuff? When not teaching in the classroom, Redmond teachers will work out of 10 portable classrooms at nearby Dickinson Elementary School, and Lake Washington teachers will commute to portables on the Lake Washington High campus, Kovats said.

-- What if students need more time for their studies? Among the details the district proposes - but still needs to iron out with the teachers' union - is providing tutoring hours on the two days each week students do not attend school.

-- Will the Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction allow the tutoring time to supplement the shortened classroom time? Assistant Superintendent Karen Bates is still negotiating with the state.

"What we would prefer to do is get the number of classroom minutes and program hours," Bates said. "But they have waiver procedures."

-- Who gets the three-day weekends? Under the district's proposal, they'll take turns. Lake Washington students would be off the first Friday, Sept. 4. Afterward, Redmond and Lake Washington high-school students would alternate a Tuesday/Thursday and Wednesday/Friday schedule.

By rotating the schedule, the district says, it could eliminate nearly 75 percent of the event conflicts for the 400 students participating on sports teams.

But during the School Board meeting Monday, some students and parents expressed concerned about after-school job schedules and attendance confusion. Officials hoped to decide sometime today whether they'll rotate.

Under the current plan, Redmond students would attend six 40-minute class periods Mondays from 7:15 to 11:45 a.m., with Lake Washington students following from 12:45 to 5:15 p.m. No lunch breaks are scheduled on Mondays. On the four remaining days, students would attend six 80-minute periods, from 7:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., alternating the pair of days each week.

The plan was one of eight options the district researched, but administrators decided the other options - such as renting vacant space at the Lake Washington Technical College or double-shifting in the completed portion of Lake Washington High - did not provide adequate space or equipment.