CMS Schedule Change

CMS Changes Schedule Format to Improve Student Instruction
Posted on 09/18/2023

The school is closed on Monday, Sept. 18, and Tuesday, Sept. 19, to allow staff and teachers to adequately prepare and plan for the new format. When students return to school on Wednesday, Sept. 20, CMS will be using an A Day/B Day scheduling format. The school started the year with a modified four-by-four block schedule.

The change to the A Day/B Day format is being implemented in response to teachers’ desire to see students receive more continuous levels of instruction in two core subject areas — math and language arts. It is also responsive to other student instructional needs, including needs for tutoring.

“We started working on this change in scheduling after teachers started asking us questions about the format we were using, and asking us to look at other options around mid-August,” said Dwayne Ross, director of secondary instruction for Alleghany Highlands Public Schools and CMS Principal Karen Staunton.

“We have been working intensely on schedules for a week,” Ross and Staunton said.

Under the new format, school days at CMS will be divided into two different sets of block periods (“A” Days and “B” Days) that meet on alternating days. The set AB Schedule establishes that all Mondays and Wednesdays will be A days. All Tuesdays and Thursdays will be B days. Initially, Fridays will also be B Days to allow students to get caught up with instructional time and class work.  

The AB Days will allow flexibility for instructional activities and improve academic performance.

“We looked at several options, and the AB format was the easiest on students and staff,” said Ross and Staunton. “This format provides our students with a continuous level of language arts and math instruction all year long. It also moves testing to the spring.”

This is the first year that Clifton Middle School has served as the consolidated middle school for Alleghany Highlands Public Schools. CMS, which is housed in the former Covington High School building, serves students in grades 6-8.

“The new schedules may be a little confusing to students at first, but we are confident it will work out. There are a lot of school divisions using this AB scheduling format in different ways, and it has proved to be successful,” said Ross and Staunton.   

Kim Halterman and Melinda Snead-Johnson, leaders of AHPS, expressed appreciation to parents for their patience and grace as the school division continues to adjust to the first year of fully-consolidated schools.

“We knew there would be adjustments to make as we worked through our first year of full consolidation. Providing our students with a  high level of education and instruction is our top priority. We will continue to observe overall operations in our schools, and make adjustments when necessary. We are extremely grateful for the level of support we have received from parents in this early stage of the school year, and we thank them for the grace and patience they are affording us,” Halterman and Snead-Johnson said.

Halterman and Snead-Johnson noted that schedule changes that affect an entire school population are not easy and require attention to a variety of variables, including student needs and teacher certifications.  

On Sept. 18-19, all other AHPS schools will be open — only CMS will be closed for students. CMS students will not have virtual instruction or take-home lessons on those days.

AHPS was created in July 2022 when Alleghany County Public Schools, Covington City Public Schools, and Jackson River Technical Center merged. The school division is jointly funded by Alleghany County and the City of Covington. It serves approximately 2,700 students.

AHPS news and events are updated regularly on Facebook at AHPublicSchools and the division website


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