"Long after they've forgotten what you taught them, they will remember how you treated them."
-author unknown

Friday, December 9, 2011

Ever wonder why we have the schedule we do?

Scheduling is never an easy thing.  However, it is important to have the structures in place to support good teaching and learning.  The staff worked hard last spring to overhaul last year's schedule.  It worked and while no schedule is perfect, we are so much better off.  Why are we better off?

1. Our instructional blocks are longer.  65 minutes that does not include transition time.  2.  Grade level teachers have common planning time everyday.  This is a big deal, allowing our staff to collaborate, improve instruction, examine data and provide common experiences across pods.  3.  Intervention times exist for students on a daily basis (30 - 60 minutes).  Students not below standard get to have some enrichment activities (student blog, technology explorations, etc).  4.  There is an advisory period at the beginning and end of every day allowing for more contact with a trusted and caring adult.

If you are able to read the associated research article posted on the right-hand "nav. bar," you'll see several types of schedules mentioned.  We have a combination of a block schedule and alternate day schedule.  Our Unified Arts classes rotate (alternate), but not our core classes.  Our core classes are longer (blocks) to provide more instructional time.

While no two middle school schedules are alike, they generally have guidelines to provide structures to enhance learning.  Gone are the days of the 45 to 50 minute periods that happen 7 times per day.  Longer instructional blocks allow for cooperative learning strategies and for students to go further in depth with topics.  Learning isn't as rushed with these longer blocks.

We meet early in the spring to review the master schedule and to make any necessary changes.  We hope to make only a few changes this coming year.  Parental input is always welcome!


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