How proud am I of my school? Very. This week, they unveiled a new class schedule in line with the school’s newly constructed Learning for Life vision statement. In creating this schedule, the committee (of which I was a part) focused on five things: integrated studies, the ability to connect our learnings to a larger world and the world around us, project based learning and problem learning, serving and learning together, and reducing stress and increasing balance in student lives.
In my opinion, the new schedule is great. Seven periods rotate over seven days with a given 3 free periods a week (thanks to double science). Each class meets three times a week instead of the current four. Classes start later for everybody and if you have a free first period, you don’t have to come to school. Tests (and major assessments) can only be given during the first two periods of the day. Each class has a 90 minute extended period (which includes lunch) in which the goal is to get off campus and explore the subject in the real world. Office hours is now everyday once more, in both the mornings and afternoons somedays. Homeroom is only on either Monday or Tuesday and Friday. Assemblies are now on Thursday instead of Friday.
The response is mixed, as it often is. Lots of students are worried that in the 90 minute block, teachers will still lecture straight through and they can’t imagine having to bear that. Also, science teachers don’t think that 90 minute block once a week and one more double is enough to make up for the current double system. Students are complaining that memorizing the new schedule will be too hard. They also worry that teachers may pass of quizzes and tests as minor assessments an assign them in periods other than the first two. However the reception is not all negative. Everyone likes the new flexibility and can’t wait for the Jan term. In fact, they want it now!
As with any change, only time will tell its effectiveness. For now, I envision great things.