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A Block Schedule at PMS: An Update

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1 A Block Schedule at PMS: An Update
Parent Forum December 10, 2012

2 Jeanne Donovan Welcome We want to make a great program even better
As educators, we always ask, “What can we do better?” How can we do more to meet new 21st century core standards with the resources we already have? Would a modified block schedule improve student learning? JD

3 Agenda Introduce committee of staff & parents
Evolution of Thought and Process Proposed, Trialed Modified Block Our Findings, Results of Survey Challenges, Improvements: Why a 3-day Block? Next Steps Panel discussion with Q&A JD

4 Block Schedule Committee
Educators Parents Jeanne Donovan, Principal Eric Mapes, Asst. Principal Hannah Bjork, Spanish Brad Goodson, Math 6 and 8 Ted Greenebaum, Science 8 Jane Hickman, English 8/Journalism Annie Holland, English 8/History 8 Joci Kelleher, Core 6/Study Skills Stella Kennedy, Core 6/Green Team Kim Lipkin, Art/Leadership Gina McKuen, Core 7/Shakespeare Carrie Poole, Special Education Amy Savage, Special Education Anne Smith, Film/Animation Camilla Thayer, Science 6 & 7 Jon Elliott Katie Korotzer Sue Lin Shirley Rexrode, PMS PC Pres. Esther Rogers Lillis Stern Gautam Wadhwani, PMS PC Tsr. Former Member: Mary Kelly, Past PMS PC President JD

5 Evolution of Thought Wanted to consider block schedule
Researched options Conducted a 2-day block trial (90-minute periods) for two weeks this fall Surveyed stakeholders Discussed benefits and challenges Changed proposal to 3-day block to address challenges while maintaining benefits

6 An Enriching, Collaborative Process
2010 Staff inquiry began April 2011 First presentation at Parents’ Club meeting Oct First parent forum Oct Parents joined Block Schedule committee Site visits, readings, discussions April 2012 Second parent forum (included elementary) Oct Two week trial of 2-day modified Block Oct Student, parent and staff surveys Nov Analysis of results which led to proposed day Block Dec Third parent forum (includes elementary) Katie & Annie, Question cards (Katie on procedure)

7 “Traditional” vs. “Modified Block” Schedule
7-period day: each class meets every day Modified Block Each class meets four times per week Blocked periods – four or five classes per day JK

8 Trialed 2-day Block Schedule
2 traditional and 3 blocked days Early dismissal at 2:05 pm every week on Wednesday

9 Why Change: Improved Learning
We expected to find that longer periods: Allow for better, deeper grasp of concepts  Create uninterrupted time for research   Provide opportunities for richer discussions  Reduce passing time & set-up/clean-up time  Lend themselves more effectively to multiple activities  JK

10 What We Learned Deeper grasp of concepts Example: Math (Mr. Goodson)
Uninterrupted research or writing time Example: Core 6 (Mrs. Kelleher) Richer discussions and elaborate activities Example: History 8 (Mrs. Holland) Reduced transition time = time for debriefing Example: Science (Mr. Greenebaum) Multiple activities Examples: Core 7 (Ms. Brenneman), World Languages (Mrs. Bjork) and P.E. (Mrs. Jarvis)

11 Survey Results: Faculty
Majority of the faculty agreed or strongly agreed that during the block schedule trial: They could utilize a greater variety of teaching strategies They could better address the range of learning styles They had increased individualized student interaction Pacing was challenging in a 90-minute period

12 Survey Results: Students
72% of students indicated that blocked periods during the trial increased: Interaction time with teachers Ability to learn Comprehension of lessons Homework due less frequently, reduced student stress

13 Survey Results: Parents’ Perspectives About Block Trial
Majority felt somewhat or very positive overall Majority supported schedule with two or more block days Over 75% of students spoke with their parents about their experience

14 Addressing the Challenges
Trialed 2-day Block Schedule

15 Addressing the Challenges
Challenge With 2-Day 90-minutes challenging for some classes One heavy day, one light 6th Grade P.E.& Music – who gets 90-minute block? Catching up after absence Lunch B too late Not seeing students daily

16 Proposed 3-Day Block Schedule
JK 2 traditional and 3 blocked days Early dismissal at 1:48 pm every week on Wednesday (same as elementary schools)

17 Addressing the Challenges
Challenge With 2-Day 90-minutes challenging for some classes One heavy day, one light 6th Grade P.E.& Music – who gets 90-minute block? Catching up after absence Lunch B too late Not seeing students daily How 3-Day Addresses It 72-minutes preferable More balanced Each gets a 72-minute block Less curriculum missed All have lunch at noon No change

18 Looking Ahead Conduct teacher vote on final proposal:
Principal & Superintendent must approve Majority of teachers must approve School Board must approve Earliest possible implementation If approved, staff development and planning time provided between January and June 2013 – curriculum, organizing one lunch, master schedule If implemented, all stakeholders will be surveyed next year as we continue to evaluate effectiveness JK

19 Summary Result of a broad, judicious inquiry process
Majority of teachers support opportunity for innovation 72-minute periods preferable to 90 minute periods Still provide great benefits to student learning Community input is valued; please contact: Any parent member on the committee OR Mary

20 Appendix Mary

21 Sample Sixth Grade Schedule Comparison
2 – Day Block (90-minute periods) 3 - Day Block (72-minute periods) Tuesday: Language Arts Science Math Reading Elective Wheel Wednesday: Social Studies P.E./Music (45 minutes of each) Early Release P.E./Music For 6th graders, this meant that Wednesdays were very light. Thursday:

22 Educational Rationale
Supports interdisciplinary theme development Provides time for teachers to develop instructional practices that increase differentiation Provides time for teachers to evaluate assessments Supports continued development of professional learning communities, which aligns with new teacher evaluation system

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