About four years ago, when I first became Principal, I decided to take on the imposing task of changing the school schedule. For those who work in schools, you know there’s no topic more radioactive and controversial than the schedule. Math teachers want classes every day. English teachers want classes every other day. Calc BC needs to meet at lunch, and Science needs a lab period. Part time teachers would prefer if they taught only in the mornings or afternoons, and no one wants a schedule that starts first period, and ends last period, because this arrangement leaves hours of time in between. Co-Curricular Activiites need to be scheduled so as not to confluict with other Co-Curricular Actvities, because little Jonny needs to be able to play Basketball, and still participate in the Drama Program. Students need schedules that don’t exahust them, and offer meaningful classroom time for them to learn deeply. But then AP students need schedules that allow them to absorb the entire AP curriculum. Also, If you decide to end school at 4:20, rather than 4:40, some parents will rake you over the coals for changing their carpool routines. Valley parents will rejoice because traffic might be better with an earlier end to the school day, while neighborhood parents with kids at other schools will try to kill you with dragon glass.
Anyways, after much research, me and my colleague Chris Buckley created the Rotating block schedule, which aimed to reorganize how the school approached class time. The schedule is still alive and well. But the issue of time remains a contentious one, especially as the rate of academic programming increases. More things happening means less time for other things happening. And everyone things that what’s happening for them, and by them, is the most important happening in the school.
But the Rotating Block is big picture, as it should be. Doesn’t mean it’s perfect.