We developed the Middle and Upper School schedule with the needs of adolescent learners in mind. Here we outline some of the advantages of the “A – G” seven-day schedule.
During the 2011-12 academic year, a committee of 15 teachers, students, and administrators from both the Middle and Upper Schools met to design a new daily schedule. This yearlong collaborative process culminated in the new schedule that you see today. The entire committee reached a consensus supporting the new schedule, and recommended it for adoption to division heads and Lark Palma, head of school.
Supports the school’s mission—project-based, experiential learning—with options for longer and shorter periods.
Every class in both divisions has access to a mixture of short and long class periods. Most classes meet five times during each seven-day cycle. Typically, two of those meetings are 75 minutes, and three of those meetings are 45 minutes. However, the schedule has built-in flexibility for alternative configurations, so classes can vary from one to three 75-minute meetings per seven-day cycle. Art and laboratory science classes, for example, benefit from longer blocks of time to accommodate setup and cleanup.
Promotes collaboration between divisions, disciplines, and grade levels, including common class and community times for the Middle and Upper Schools.
All seven-class blocks meet at the exact same time in both divisions. This allows students and teachers to cross over from one division to another for a class without affecting other class periods. It also means we can share teaching and learning spaces.
Eases the frenetic pace of learning and transitions between classes. This allows students to learn and process at deeper levels, with time for reflection.
On each day, most students will have only five of their six or seven classes. This creates fewer class-to-class transitions each day. On any given night, a student should have fewer homework assignments to juggle.
Distributes the effects of time of day across classes by rotating when classes meet.
Every class will be the first class of the day once in the seven-day cycle, and every class will be the last class of the day once in the seven-day cycle. Research shows that rotating classes throughout the day enhances student learning. Students who leave early for athletic commitments will not repeatedly miss the same class. Rotating the classes also results in each class adjoining a flex period.
Flexible time blocks provide opportunity for community meetings, ranging from large assemblies to small groups to one-on-one conferences.
The seven-day schedule provides two different sets of flexible time blocks, co-curricular periods and flex time.
The co-curricular periods support assemblies and community meetings. They also allow for a wide variety of other meeting configurations such as grade-level meetings, club meetings, and planning meetings for Winterim and Breakaway, outdoor education opportunities, and global trips. In the Upper School, students who do not have club meetings on those days can use the time to study, conference with a teacher, or meet with an advisor or counselor. In the Middle School, this time includes a co-curricular activities block, study hall by advisory, and assemblies.
The flex periods provide another set of flexible time blocks. Many will be scheduled for use by the adjacent class block. In the Upper School, students who do not have a club meeting on those days can use the time to study, conference with a teacher, or meet with an advisor or counselor. In the Middle School, morning flex blocks will be used for the life skills program, class meetings, and sustained silent reading.
Provides the opportunity for large blocks of time for extended projects, guest speakers, field trips, community service, and grade-level presentations.
The extended block allows us to respond to opportunities as they arise without running into conflicts with class meeting times. Students and teachers can take short field trips to take advantage of traveling exhibits, interesting presenters, and community events, or invite outside experts to campus for forums.