The School Board reluctantly approved a new schedule for Ashland High School Monday that includes an advisory program and shorter class periods for next academic year.

The School Board reluctantly approved a new schedule for Ashland High School Monday that includes an advisory program and shorter class periods for next academic year.

Three board members initially voted against the proposal, saying they wanted to explore having later start times and a more consistent schedule. However, after much discussion, Board Chairwoman Carol Davis, Vice Chairwoman Heidi Parker and board member Eva Skuratowicz decided to approve the new schedule for next school year only.

"It was a reluctant vote to accept it for the year of 2011-12," Davis said. "For the following year, I feel we need to hear from the community how they feel about our school schedule and what's missing."

Board members Keith Massie and Ruth Alexander said they supported the new schedule, after hearing several administrators and leadership students speak in favor of it.

High school Principal Michelle Zundel said she's especially excited that the new schedule allows for the advisory program, which will pair a group of students with a teacher who will offer them help with homework, college applications and teenage issues.

All of the board members support the new advisory program, Davis said.

"The entire School Board is very, very excited about the advisory program," she said. "It's going to serve every student."

Students will spend 40 minutes in the advisory program twice a week and 40 minutes in a study hall program twice a week. To accommodate these programs, class periods will be 85 minutes long, 10 minutes shorter than they are this academic year. Students will also have only 30 minutes for lunch, 20 less than usual.

The school will continue to follow an alternating schedule with each class held every other day.

The board will look at the high school schedule again next year and possibly make changes to it, Davis said.

"This will be an ongoing discussion among board members," she said. "We'll see how it goes. Maybe we'll all feel good about where we are, or maybe we'll decide to make some additional changes and do some rethinking."

Contact reporter Hannah Guzik at 541-708-1158 or hguzik@dailytidings.com.