The idea to restructure our high school schedules around 5-week course blocks has been spinning in my head and evolving over the past week. Under the current circumstances, this seems like a very viable option. Below are the assumptions, logistics, pros, and cons. I welcome your feedback to email@example.com
Proposal for 5-week Block Scheduling
- COVID is going to be with us through the year
- There will be numerous schedule disruptions—moving from in-person to hybrid to remote
- There will be students and teachers missing significant chunks of instructional time
- The disruptions in schedules will make tracking the demands, measuring individual student progress, and developing relationships difficult
- Every student would take one course at a time, every day, the entire day
- Every teacher would teach only one course at a time, every day, the entire day
- Every course would last 25 instructional days
- There would be 7 course blocks offered during 2020-21
- Teachers would teach 6 blocks to be considered full-time and receive a “break” during one of the 7 blocks for planning & recovery
- There would be eligibility and accreditation concerns, but these can be addressed
- It’s possible to modify for Middle Schools into two courses at a time (morning and afternoon?) and the same pros and cons apply
- This keeps exposure low for teachers and students. Would allow for the possibility of in-person classes more frequently (if not full-time). Hybrid scheduling would support this, too.
- This simplifies the demands for students and teachers in a remote learning environment
- We might be able to form “quarantine circles” with each cohort of students so they can form study groups (in-person or virtually) as well as the social and community aspect
- This is innovative and differentiates us from other schools
- This would allow for more personalization. Teachers could, for instance, set up weekly checkins with each students. In a more traditional 7 period day, that type of individual attention would be difficult (if not impossible) to schedule
- If you lose teachers (or still have holes to fill), you don’t need to fill those immediately.
- We have a provider willing to offer accredited courses in our 5-week time frames
- Admissions can only begin at the start of a block. Tuition can be charged/prorated by block
- If a student gets sick, they might miss a block. If they can’t make it up, it doesn’t put them at a tremendous disadvantage.
- A student might be able to make significant progress in one “subject” in one academic year—like two years of math or two years of a foreign language. And if we’re further limited by not offering PE or Fine Arts, that’s a great opportunity for our students
- With more students clamoring to graduate early, this schedule would allow for more flexibility
- Teachers might struggle to condense their year-long curriculum into a 5-week block
- Students might be bored and disinterested
- Math and foreign language teachers will argue that taking away the consistent practice might hinder learning
- PE and Fine Arts teachers might not like the condensed look. However, those subjects might not be offered this year.
- This is too much change, too soon
- Religion teachers would miss the yearlong formation of students.
Tim, what an interesting concept, one I hadn’t heard before. I don’t know what the hourly requirements are for students to get a credit for a class, but if they have a 5 hour block that would be 125 hours, which seems more than what they would need for a typical semester class. The Fine Arts and PE are so important for student learning, perhaps one hour during the block can be dedicated to one of those. I think it’s an exciting solution to consider during COVID and studying the impact on student learning as a result sounds like a good research project!