After much research, data collection and discussion, the Xavier administration and faculty have made the decision to move to a block schedule format beginning in the fall of 2018. Xavier will use an alternating day schedule which means students will attend four of their eight classes one day the remaining four the next day. We will also include an XCEL period each day. We will be requiring students to take eight classes (but not all will necessarily be academic in nature – for example music, art, strategies, fitness, health, etc.).
Why Did We Consider This Change?
Several factors led us to explore block scheduling. In the past five years, we have experience an increase in the number of deficiencies, course failures and course repeats. Due to student course loads and their involvement in after 山东体彩11选5开奖 activities, it is difficult for students to find time to meet with teachers when they need help. Students are reporting significant time stress with many reporting not getting to bed until well after midnight due to 山东体彩11选5开奖work, projects and/or test preparation. Our counselors and 山东体彩11选5开奖 nurse report an increase in stress and anxiety related visits. Our current schedule of 43 minutes is significantly impacted whenever we have a schedule interruption or schedule adjustment. We found that in 38% of our instructional days, classes are less than 43 minutes long. We believe it is difficult to conduct meaningful instructional activities in those shortened periods. Finally, the mission of Xavier High School is to develop the total person in a Catholic environment. We strongly believe that in addition to caring for students’ spiritual and academic development, we have a responsibility to care about their physical and emotional well-being.
What Did We Do? We spent significant time gathering information and soliciting input from various groups in order to fully understand the impact our current schedule has on students and the possible impact a move to block scheduling would have. We reviewed extensive research on the topic. We reviewed data on student schedules, grades and attendance. We visited two 山东体彩11选5开奖s who utilize block scheduling (Dowling Catholic and Wahlert Catholic). During those visits, we observed classrooms and engaged students, faculty and administrators in discussion about block scheduling in their 山东体彩11选5开奖s. We visited with a 山东体彩11选5开奖 (Columbus Catholic) which was using block and has gone back to a traditional schedule. We surveyed students and faculty to get a sense of their experience with our traditional schedule and the time challenges they may encounter. We met with small groups (2-3 of faculty) to share information and answer questions about block scheduling. We met with students, in groups and individually, to hear about their experiences and solicit their thoughts on a possible move to block scheduling. We shared information and solicited feedback from Xavier Parents for Xcellence and the Xavier School Improvement Advisory Committee.
What Did We Learn?
Xavier students average nearly eight classes per semester. In our traditional schedule, they must keep track of eight courses per day and have the potential for 山东体彩11选5开奖work, projects and/or test preparation in those eight classes. It is a challenge to keep everything straight and when a student misses a day of 山东体彩11选5开奖, he or she is faced with making up work in those eight classes.
In our surveys, 30% of students (37% of those involved in activities) reported not having enough time to complete 山东体彩11选5开奖work in all their courses. Additionally, 43% of students reported not having enough time to prepare for tests. We found that 42% of our students do not have the opportunity to meet with teachers when they need assistance due to their activities schedules or their teacher being unavailable if the student is free during the day. Over 90% of our students are involved in an activity program at Xavier.Students report (55%) that teachers don’t know their academic strengths/weaknesses nor (83%) their interests.
In our visits with students, they shared that they have very little time during the day to get work done or meet with teachers. They believe that one XCEL day per week is not enough and often the XCEL time is taken up with meetings. They feel stressed by their time commitments and are frequently tired due to a lack of sleep. They believe that block scheduling could help alleviate some of the stress. Parents confirm that they are seeing what the students report and also believe that block scheduling could help address the stress.
The 山东体彩11选5开奖s that we visited report the following positive impacts of block scheduling:
The pace of the 山东体彩11选5开奖 day slows down
Teachers get to know students better
More in-depth learning occurs
Academic load becomes more manageable
There is more time for innovative and creative teaching
Guided practice increases
Students have two days to do 山东体彩11选5开奖work and prepare for tests.
Students who miss a day, miss four classes instead of seven or eight. They also have two days to catch up compared to one.
Students are less stressed overall.
Academic performance is high (ACT/A.P./Nat’l Merit).
We also found that neither faculty nor students have any desire to go back to 8 period day.
Goals for Block Scheduling
Deeper understanding of and ability to use content
Provide teachers with two uninterrupted 80 minute prep periods
Allow more time for innovation/creativity/collaboration
Provide students with multiple XCEL opportunities
Provide students with more in-class opportunity for teacher help
As with any change, we expect challenges to surface. There is some concern that we may experience a decrease in content. The 山东体彩11选5开奖s we visited believe this was not experienced at a significant level and also is offset by a deeper understanding of the content. Teachers will not see students every day of the week. While the frequency of seeing students decreasing, the amount of time during the learning experience increases. Scheduling will be different and may present a challenge. We will need more elective courses for students to select from.
We will be visiting with our students early next week to explain how the block schedule format will be implemented and how it will affect their schedules. We are excited to implement a process that we believe will continue to challenge our students academically while also helping them better manage their time.