Liberty Hill ISD high schools will operate on a new bell schedule starting next school year.

What you need to know

The district’s board of trustees voted to adopt an A/B block schedule for Liberty Hill and Legacy Ranch high schools at a Jan. 22 meeting. Beginning with the 2024-25 school year, students will attend four classes for at least 90 minutes each instead of the eight 45-minute classes students attend currently, LHISD Chief of Schools Travis Motal said.

While district officials previously expressed concerns about whether the district could afford implementing a block schedule, the district lowered costs by increasing its average class size from 22 to 25 students per teacher, Motal said.

With around 25 students per class, block scheduling will cost the district an additional $264,000 to hire four more teachers for next school year, Motal said. Those projections were based on an enrollment of 2,100 students at Liberty Hill High School and 350 ninth grade students at Legacy Ranch High School, he said.

Implementing the schedule with classes of 22 students would have cost $1.3 million to hire 21 additional teachers, which LHISD Chief Financial Officer Rosanna Guerrero said the district could not financially sustain at a Dec. 18 meeting.

How we got here

The district began considering several new high school bell schedules this fall, including A/B block scheduling and a seven-period schedule.

Almost 84% of surveyed teachers at Liberty Hill High School voted to switch from the current eight period schedule to an A/B block schedule, Motal said at a Dec. 18 meeting. Teachers favored having fewer transitions each day, an easier daily workload and more time for instruction and homework in a previous survey.

Several board members also expressed their support for switching to block scheduling.

"I think it's more effective. I think that kids can learn deeper and can ask some questions instead of running out the door after 45 minutes and the teacher saying, 'Oh, here's the homework,'" Place 6 board member Kristi Hargrove said at a Nov. 13 meeting. "There's a lot of classes I think that the kids and the teachers would really benefit from having that extended period of time."

What’s next?

District officials will create the final high school bell schedule later this spring, Motal said.