Four-Day Rotating Schedule

 
Overview 
The new schedule is a change from our very traditional schedule to one that maximizes resources, relationships and time so that our students make the most of their high school experience, improve academic achievement, and graduate college and are career ready. Through the new schedule, more students will have the opportunity to engage in academic enrichment activities; participate in co-curricular programs; and, faculty will gain opportunities to meet and discuss pedagogy and best practice in an effort to improve student performance.
 

Benefits
It is well documented and reported that our nation’s students struggle in math and science when compared globally to students in other industrialized countries. Approximately one third of graduating high school students in our region, who attend community college, require remediation in math and/or English. Therefore, public education has entered an era of intense scrutiny and the pressure to improve student performance is immense. This new reality, coupled with BHPRSD’s desire to ensure every one of our students is college and career ready is a driving force behind this new and exciting initiative. The following benefits will be realized with implementation of the new schedule:
  • Results in a net increase of instructional time - BHPRSD’s pursuit of a high school scheduling change is three years in the making and began with a desire to increase student instructional time. Our typical eight period high school schedule affords only 43 minute class periods. By the time students trek the long hallways of our high school over the course of four minutes, transitioning from one class to the next, plus the time required for students to get settled in their seats, “ready to learn,” we have found a significant erosion of meaningful instruction time occurs. So in truth, our 43 minute class periods are reduced to little over half an hour. Simply put, this is not enough time to improve student achievement and ready our students for college or career. With the new schedule, transition time is reduced by moving away from a standard format and towards a rotating fourday design that allows students to meet six times, dropping two class periods a day. As a result, valuable instructional time is gained by simply reducing the transition to and from classes.
  • Prevents the loss of instructional time - BHPRSD’s traditional schedule does not allow any time for students to engage in academic support initiatives, seek help, or attend assemblies without taking precious time away from class periods. With the new schedule, activities such as student seminars, academic enrichment, or grade-level meetings will occur during the open lunch period of time and not interrupt classroom instruction.
  • An Academics “First” initiative is achieved - In our current high school schedule, it is nearly impossible to provide the necessary supports students deserve; just about every moment of the day is defined. As a result, additional academic assistance requires students to remain after school. While after school support seems “easy to do,” a host of challenges such as transportation home, scheduling conflicts with games, meetings, activities, or the availability of instructional staff often impedes students’ ability to access support. With the implementation of the new schedule, students will be provided the opportunity to take advantage of a number of supports available to them during the regular school day in addition to after-school assistance. And for those students who may struggle, a new academic probation will be defined and specific requirements enforced to ensure students are meeting their highest academic potential. 
  • Competing interests are mitigated - Students today are involved in a myriad of co-curricular programs. The benefits of such programs are enormous; however, many of our students are forced to choose one and forgo the other. For example, it is nearly impossible for students involved in student council to find the time to carry out specific responsibilities because most, if not all of these students, are involved in other activities. The new schedule affords all of our high school students the chance to participate in multiple clubs and activities that enrich their high school experience without having to give up participation in other organizations. Student responsibility is redefined The schedule provides students the ability to make responsible choices that maximize their school experience. Balancing lunchtime with chances to participate in co-curricular activities, pursue remedial and/or enrichment experiences, or participate in career discussions strengthens a student’s ability to make the best use of his or her time. We strongly believe that by providing our students with this level of responsibility, to enhance their high school experience, we are better preparing them for their post-secondary goals. Students will have opportunities to pursue remedial support in a given subject or gain enrichment opportunities to deepen their understanding or mastery of a particular academic discipline.
  • The student experience is enhanced - Throughout our research, we have found that students in other schools that have implemented similar schedules, greatly enjoy the experiences it provides them. Students have cited the following benefits of the schedule: opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with peers and teachers; reduction in school anxiety; opportunities to engage in multiple cocurricular activities; and, opportunities to seek additional support when needed. In the traditional schedule students were limited to taking 140 course credits unless they were willing to forgo lunch. The new schedule allows them to take up to 160 credits over 4 years. 
  • Relationship building - The schedule provides a wealth of opportunities for solid and valuable relationships to be developed among a variety of constituencies. Through the schedule, students and teachers develop an accommodating partnership focused on supporting individual needs to increase student success. This ability to openly communicate with teachers so as to express individual requests allows students to be confident in their desire to advocate for themselves within the world of college and career. Additionally, students establish peer relationships that assist in reinforcing the importance of an academic focus.
  • Athletic benefits abound - The new schedule was not designed with athletics in mind, but several inherent benefits of the new schedule are achieved as a result. The following benefits will be realized for our student athletes: mitigation of competing student interests; academic support provided during the school day for our busy student athletes; opportunities to seek assistance from an athletic trainer without interrupting instructional time or after school athletic time; and, opportunities for athletic teams to meet via “Captain’s meetings” to name a few. 
  • The new schedule becomes the big equalizer- Our current schedule is replete with inequities due to the fact that some students have opportunities outside of our traditional schedule to gain support while many others, due to competing interest, participating in athletics or activities, or lack of access to teachers, do not have the same chances. With the new schedule, all of our students will have the same opportunities to access academic support and much more. Creating this equity among our student body is a significant benefit. 
  • Eliminates the “Groundhog Day” Effect - A traditional schedule tends to become monotonous, often leaving students bored with the “same old routine.” Waking up each morning to go to his or her least favorite subject during first period may create discouragement for some students and negatively affect academic performance. The still “sleepy” student, who cannot seem to wake until 9:00 am, may begin to struggle in Algebra II or Physics class because he cannot seem to focus well in the morning. The new schedule addresses these realities by providing a rotating schedule built on an AM and PM wheel that presents a more varied approach to the academic day. Students we have spoken to during our site visits convey enthusiasm for this diverse schedule and state they prefer the break in routine it creates in comparison to traditional school schedules. 
  • Faculty collaboration is realized - A vast amount of research supports the notion that student achievement is directly correlated with teacher performance. Further research notes that teacher practice improves greatly when adequate time is provided for professional development and collaboration. The new schedule will create opportunities for our teachers to meet in departments to discuss student achievement, pedagogical best practice, research educational trends for implementation, and provides additional planning time. Special education teachers will have the time, for the first time, to talk to content –specific teachers about lesson planning and student performance. 
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