Four-Day Rotating Schedule
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.
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.