Why was the schedule changed?
The schedule change is part of an ongoing effort to promote our progressive mission and enhance student learning. For several years we have researched best practices and benchmarked with other schools that have switched to similar schedules. The new schedule eases the frenetic pace of learning without compromising our academically challenging program. The student workload is better managed, and the built-in flexibility allows interdisciplinary and cross-divisional collaboration.
What was the process for making the change?
During the 2011-12 academic year, a committee of teachers, students, and administrators from both the Middle and Upper schools met to design a new daily schedule. The committee drew inspiration from successful schedules at other schools and from original designs by committee members. The yearlong collaborative process included feedback from the wider community of students and teachers. The entire committee reached consensus in support of the new schedule and recommended it for adoption to division heads and Lark Palma.
Will students be confused by the new schedule?
Students always have to get used to their schedules at the beginning of the school year. This year will be no different. After several rotations through the seven-day cycle, we expect everyone will adjust. When we researched similar schedules at other schools, we were told students acclimated quickly.
How will everyone learn the new schedule?
We will have fun adapting together. Students will review their schedules during the first days of school. We will prominently display the day of the cycle in visible locations around campus. The schedule for the entire year will be available on the website. Students will receive personalized paper and electronic schedules.
Does the new schedule reduce teaching time?
No. Preserving teaching and learning time was a key consideration as we developed the new schedule.
Does the length of the school day change?
Not in the Upper School. The Middle School day has been extended 25 minutes. We had wanted to add a life skills program in the Middle School without cutting elsewhere, and the additional 25 minutes a day makes it possible to offer this essential co-curricular program.
The school day for both Middle and Upper Schools begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 3:15 p.m.
Are there days when one division has school and the other division does not?
The Middle and Upper School calendars are coordinated, so students in both divisions have the same no-school days.
Can a Middle School student take classes in the Upper School now that the schedules are in sync?
Catlin Gabel’s curriculum is carefully designed for age-appropriate teaching and learning. On occasion we have students with exceptional academic talent who may require a higher-level class, most often in math. The new schedule allows us to maximize resources and facilitates these rare occurrences to meet our students’ needs.