Livermore and Granada high schools are in the process of considering whether to change their course schedules to semesters after 15 years on the trimester system.
Since 2008, both high schools have operated on the trimester schedule, which means the school year is divided into three 12-week terms. There are five class periods in a school day with each class lasting 70 minutes. One trimester is equivalent to a traditional system's "semester" course.
The current schedule aims to provide increased opportunities and flexibility for students with the potential to take up to 75 credits per school year as opposed to 60 in a traditional semester system, according to Granada High School's course catalog.
A semester system, on the other hand, divides the academic year into two 18-week terms, fall and spring, with a winter break between semesters. High schools in neighboring Pleasanton, Dublin and San Ramon Valley currently operate on the semester system.
The principals of Livermore High and Granada each distributed surveys earlier this month to gauge parents' thoughts on making the transition to the traditional semester schedule.
"Through feedback received from student advisory groups, teachers, and previous school / district surveys, there has been a consistent request for a school day / school year structure that lengthens the amount of time teachers have with students, ultimately enhancing the building of relationships and connections," LVJUSD officials told Livermore Vine.
The survey asked parents to rank various aspects of the school experience from one to five by level of importance, with one being not at all important and five being extremely important. The list included student relationships with staff, athletics, elective options, start and end times and length of instructional periods, among other factors.
"To provide parent input, high school parents and guardians have been given an opportunity to complete a survey to rank priorities associated with high school schedules. After analyzing the collective data, further discussions will take place to determine if moving away from the current trimester schedule to a semester schedule would be advantageous to supporting the identified priorities," the district said.
In addition to addressing requests from stakeholders, making the switch to semesters could make the transition to college easier for a number of students as many colleges and universities in California currently function on the semester system, including Las Positas community college in Livermore.
All but one of the 23 California State University campuses are on semesters, according to the office of the chancellor's website. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo is the only CSU operating on the quarter system where three quarters are equal to two semesters or one academic year. However, the college is in the process of converting to the semester schedule by the 2026-27 academic year, according to its website.
The quarter system is also currently used at most University of California schools -- with the exception of the UC Merced and UC Berkeley.
If Livermore High and Granada proceed with converting to semesters, no determination would affect the current school year, but the decision could modify the schedule structure for 2024-25 and beyond, district officials said.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the duration of a typical semester for local high schools. The term is 18 weeks long. Embarcadero Media regrets the error.