The Principal’s Corner by Mr. B
Taylor will be one of a dozen APS middle schools to pilot one of two new schedules next school year. The district offered middle schools a choice of a:
• Six-period “traditional” schedule which has five 60-minute classes and one “skinny” class for advisory, remediation, and enrichment.
• Five-period “block” schedule which has four 75-minute classes and one “skinny” class for advisory, remediation, and enrichment.
Our Instructional Council listened to a presentation from me on February 10 about the pros and cons of the two schedules in comparison to the seven-period schedule we currently have. We asked the Council to discuss the two schedules with their constituent groups and submit their vote to IC chair Margarita Smith by February 19. I also met with the PTO board and presented both proposals for PTO consideration. The results of the balloting were as follows:
Six-period schedule – 7 votes
Five-period schedule – 5 votes
Both PTO votes were cast in support of the six-period schedule.
Based on this vote, I submitted a request that Taylor be allowed to pilot the six-period schedule next school year. On Wednesday, March 10 we received notice that our request was approved by APS leadership. While there is no perfect schedule, I do believe that the six-period schedule will be an excellent fit for our school.
Here are some key features of next year’s six-period schedule:
• Math, science, social studies, and language arts meet every day for 360 minutes per week of instructional time in each class each week.
• Elective classes meet every other day on an alternating A/B schedule. For example, a student might have band and PE for electives. Band would meet Monday/Wednesday/Friday one week and Tuesday/Thursday the next week and so forth. One week, the student would get 180 minutes of band class and 120 minutes of PE. The next week it would flip-flop. Overall, the student gets 360 minutes elective class per week.
• The “skinny” class meets every day for 45 minutes and will be either:
o a third elective for students who don’t need remediation, or
o an extension of a core class such as math or reading to help your child catch up on basic skills
Placement decisions about what skinny your child gets will likely be based on his or her DBA results in math and reading. Students who score at beginning steps will likely be assigned to a skinny class to help them improve in math and/or reading.
One additional feature of the six-period day is built-in time for teacher collaboration in professional learning communities (PLC). We will structure these PLCs by grade-level which we will help us better support your student’s learning and social development.
I think the six-period day offers students the advantage of seeing all core teachers every day. I also believe it provides a daily rhythm that works best for middle school kids. This year will give us a chance to pilot the schedule for APS. I am excited that we were chosen for the pilot and I sincerely believe it is going to be a big success for our kids.