Bibb schools to offer optional hybrid schedules at high schools


Alicia Mays of UGA’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, teaches Southwest High School boys healthy eating habits.

Bibb County Schools plans to to offer an optional hybrid schedule at its six high schools next school year.

The hybrid schedule, a mix of traditional and block schedules presented at the regular Board of Education meeting on Thursday, will include seven or fewer periods each day. It will incorporate two 105-minute blocks for classes plus three traditional 50-minute periods.

The optional hybrid schedule would allow for students to personalize their schedules, said Kevin Adams, Bibb Schools director of research, evaluation, assessment and accountability. To other students, it would afford an opportunity to make up failed classes without having to attend summer school.

The Bibb County School District decreased the amount of credits needed from 28 to 24 during the 2013-2014 school year. In May 2020, the Board of Education approved lowering the number of credits needed to 23, which is the minimum required by the state.

The reduction in required credits is one reason the district’s graduation rate increased from 58.9% in 2014 to 79.37% in 2020, according to a memo in the board meeting minutes. The district’s graduation rate increased in 2021 to 80.67%.

Under the new hybrid schedule, a student who failed algebra as a freshman would be able to take algebra first semester sophomore year and geometry second semester, putting the student back on track to have the four math credits needed to graduate on time.

Alternatively, a student who wanted to take an advanced math class could theoretically finish the four required math credits in two school years under the hybrid model.

In other business at the monthly BOE meeting Thursday, the district discussed expanding the use of a tool used at some schools in the past to monitor student writing districtwide ahead of the statewide Georgia Milestones test.

Deborah Dennard, the district’s school improvement coordinator for language arts, delivered a presentation on Write Score, a Florida company that offers hand-scored, text-based assignments. The test mirrors the Georgia Milestones writing test.

The company provides detailed results on what aspects of each students’ writing needs improvement in addition to providing lesson plans for teachers to address those needs.

Students in middle and high school will take the Write Score test three times each school year. The first test was administered in September.

District officials did not immediately know what agreement the school district has with the company or how much it pays for the product.

Write Score serves 150 school districts, according to its website. The district uses a platform called SchoolCity to monitor improvement to students’ reading and vocabulary, but it has not had a district-wide program to measure writing.

Also Thursday, BOE picked its officers in unanimous votes.

Thelma Dillard was nominated to serve as school board president by outgoing board president Daryl Morton. Lisa Garrett was nominated as vice president and Kristin Hanlon as secretary.