Revising the SHS Schedule

History

Jan 2007-Jan 2008

SHS scheduling committee explores how best to change schedule as SHS shifts from a 7-period to an 8-period schedule. The committee includes members of the SHS faculty, SHS administration, and Central Office.

Jan 2008

SHS decides to adopt its current hybrid schedule (3 days: all 8 periods meet; 2 block days only 4 periods meet). The schedule includes an advisory meeting on the Wednesday block day, and a late start (8:30) on the Thursday block day to provide a one-hour block of time (7:30-8:30) for teachers to meet in their PLC’s. The new schedule will be first used in the 2008-2009 school year.

  VIEW CURRENT STUDENT SCHEDULE  

Summer 2009

The late start on Thursday and the morning PLC meeting on Thursday are scrapped, and a second advisory meeting is added. Each block day now includes an advisory period. PLC’s are shifted to a common non-teaching period for teachers in the PLC.

2013 School Year

Through the Faculty Advisory Committee, teachers request the opportunity to review and discuss the current hybrid schedule. However, due to the impending NEASC visit, such a review is tabled until a more convenient time.

January 2017

Through the Faculty Advisory Committee, teachers again request the opportunity to review and discuss the current schedule. Teachers are given the green light to conduct a review with the understanding that the Administration would make the final decision regarding any schedule changes. Teachers are also informed that a change to the high school daily schedule would be an independent decision from the late start discussion.

Sept 2017-Jan 2018

SHS teachers form a Scheduling Committee, which is comprised of faculty members from each academic department. The committee identifies the strengths and weaknesses in the current hybrid schedule and explore other possible schedules.

 CURRENT SCHEDULE:  42 minute periods plus A/B Block (-83 minute periods)
STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES
Students Students
  • Longer, sustained periods once weekly.
  • Fewer class transitions twice a week.
  • Only four classes of homework twice weekly.
  • Must prepare for all 8 periods 3 times each week.
  • 42-minute classes are too short.
  • Block periods are too long for some students.
  • Too many assignments and high stress projects happen on the long blocks.
  • Missing a block feels like missing 2 class periods.
  • Tendency for teachers to assign double homework on block days.
  • Current wraparound situation (science labs) means kids don't get to attend their elective 100% of the time.
  • Guidance struggles to schedule students with the extra science lab periods.
Teachers Teachers
  • A break from planning for all their classes once a week.
  • Plenty of time for set-up, break-down for classes that need it on the block day.
  • Allows for variety of different types/lengths of activities (breaks up routine).
  • Science gets 2 long blocks, as kids are assigned to lab on a MWF and they still have the double block.
  • Lack of consistency—if schedule gets thrown off/teachers have prepped for a 42-minute period and come back to an 83-minute period.

 

For the next step, the committee interviews individuals from other Connecticut high schools (Schools selected: all schools from DRG A and DRG B, the top 15 schools in The Next Generation CT Accountability Index, and the top 15 schools in CAPT Grade 10 Science Scores).

High School Schedules comparison

Feb 2018 

After completing the interviews and analyzing the data, the Scheduling Committee organizes the information and presents it to the faculty. Each academic department discusses SHS’s daily schedule for the future.

March 2018

Each academic department votes for the Drop-2 Schedule with a rotation (one for four classes in the morning, and one for four classes in the afternoon) as the best schedule for SHS in the future.

SHS Teacher Recommendation
  SHS Straight I-8 Drop 2 A/B Block

 Length of Periods

  • 3 42-minute classes
  • 1 89-minute class
  • 42-minute classes
  • 58-minute classes
  • 89-minute classes
 Number of Meetings/Year
  • 144 meetings
  • 180 meetings
  • 135 meetings
  • 90 meetings
 Total Yearly Hours/Class
  • 129 hours/class
  • 126 hours/class
  • 130.5 hours/class
  • 133.5 hours/class
 Total Overall Contact Hours   1,032 Contact Hours   1,008 Contact Hours   1,044 Contact Hours   1,068 Contact Hours

 

The consensus is that the classes on the current all-8-periods-meet days are far too short at 42 minutes and that the classes on the 2 block days are too long at 83 minutes. The committee believes that the 58-minute periods of the Drop 2 schedule allow teachers to continue to use a variety of instructional methods, reduce the amount of transitions during the school day, and lower student stress by reducing the number of classes students have each day and the number of assessments students currently have on block days.

The Scheduling Committee presents its final decision to the SHS Administration.

May 2018

The head of the Scheduling Committee and the Principal of SHS present these findings to the Superintendent and the Assistant Superintendent.

Fall 2018

The SHS Leadership Committee explores how a Drop-2 schedule would impact specific aspects of SHS. The topics for discussion include a schedule rotation, an advisory period, and a possible change in science labs.

Fall/November 2018

Presentations are made to the BOE Curriculum Committee and the greater BOE. View BOE Presentation (pdf from PowerPoint presentation)

January 2019

The process of engaging students in conversations about this work begins. Via this webpage, information will be shared with students. Open meetings will be conducted with administrators and counselors during lunch periods, where we can discuss our work and gather their input. 

Conclusion

The teachers and administrators of Simsbury High School have invested a significant amount of time and energy in order to develop a schedule that is more fully aligned with our core values and beliefs of preparation, passion, and personal growth.  The schedule that we have proposed will allow us to maximize our instructional time, reduce stress, and provide greater access to the entire program of studies by reducing conflicts for our students.  The change would be budget neutral while presenting potential opportunities for greater efficiencies in some areas.  The schedule allows for shared staffing with our middle school, and the rotating structure provides versatility regarding starting and ending times that can be beneficial to our students.  In the event that our district opts to pursue a later start time at some point in the future, this schedule will work very well to reduce impacts due to early dismissals for extra-curricular activities. 

In closing I would like to thank the members of our faculty committee for their professionalism and dedication throughout the process.  While there is no single “ideal schedule,” I believe that the schedule that we are building is a solid step closer to perfection.

Sincerely,

Andrew O'Brien
Principal

Examine the Options

Potential Benefits

For Students

  • Worksheet 1: How would a full rotation schedule work for me?
  • Worksheet 2: How would a limited rotation schedule work for me?