Scheduling & ideas for next year

Tomorrow we have a staff day. From 8-9:30 we’re going to be talking about ideas for next year: scheduling, course offerings, etc. Last spring, I created the daily schedule that is in use this year. Since then, I’ve learned a lot about what I want and hope for next year’s schedule, and have spent some time talking with other teachers.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time this weekend figuring out and thinking through different ideas to bring tomorrow. I think it’s good to frame the discussion around what we want and need for different courses rather than to immediately start looking at specific schedules without thinking more philosophically first. I also think that having some samples to look at will help more concrete thinkers.

To enlarge a schedule, click on the thumbnail:

I must emphasize that these are very rough drafts and that as I went on, and realized just how many variables there are, I stopped figuring out the times of each period. Some of the schedules don’t have advisory time worked in. There are other things that need to be considered too, like if our juniors will be going to their internships and how that will be worked into the schedule. It seems likely that none of these schedules will be used, but hopefully will help facilitate discussion.

It is amazing how many questions came up as I was creating these. How many periods will we have each day? How many elective periods do we want? Which classes benefit most from longer class periods? Do all classes benefit from longer blocks? How many days a week should we have double blocks? How long should a longer block be? Do we want all courses to have the same time breakdowns, or could one class meet in two hour slots half as often as a class that meets in one hour slots? And on and on…

I am so grateful to work at a new school that is constantly evolving and questioning its decisions. I work with teachers who embrace change. My impression is that most schools use the same schedule they’ve used every year. People become familiar and comfortable with it, and it becomes difficult to suggest or even really think about change.

We are also going to begin talking about the possibility of electives. My dream for juniors is that instead of taking a generic English class, they would take elective-based English courses. Southern Literature, Postmodern Literature, Shakespeare, War Novels, The Memoir Genre (perhaps a prerequisite for Memoir Writing?), Slam Poetry, Journalism, Nature Writing, Contemporary Non-Fiction Writing, The American Short Story, etc.

I have so many ideas!!

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