“There are no schedules that fit every school or every need. What’s clear is that the way you organize your school is a reflection of your school’s values and priorities and can either support achieving your vision or become a barrier to its success.” – Ronald Williamson, Ed.D.
In 2012, Louisville Collegiate School began the process of reviewing and revising the daily schedule based on research-based best practices in teaching adolescents and young adults, school visits, and survey data from students and faculty. This process of affirming what best serves students, resulted in the creation of a daily schedule that increases class time, improves collaboration between students and teachers, provides time for peer interaction, and creates meeting time for teachers to work and plan together more effectively.
After countless iterations the daily schedule was approved unanimously by the Academic Affairs Committee in 2014, and teachers began their two-year journey of very intentional professional development training that included school visits to Connecticut, New Jersey, and Tennessee, on-campus department workshops with visiting master teachers, and work with national consultant and author, Dr. Pam Robbins. Research-based reading materials and financial support to attend teaching and learning conferences were also part of Collegiate’s professional development framework during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years.
The Upper School daily schedule is comprised of four periods that are 75-minutes in length. Students are enrolled in eight periods that are offered over two days (four classes meet for 75 minutes every other day) and students are required to enroll in a minimum of five courses. In 9th and 10th grades students may enroll in a maximum of six courses. The eight-period schedule has increased flexibility for juniors and seniors who may apply to enroll in up to seven courses with approval from the Head of Upper School. Additional time is built into the daily schedule for daily advisory meetings, assemblies, club meetings, academic teams, and a common work period- a time that students and teachers are free to work together. The rotating nature of the schedule gives students time for reflection and practice, and it also allows them to see their teachers on the “off day” with questions about the class work or homework.
This schedule, built on years of extensive research into the impact of schedules on learning and student/faculty stress, results in fewer classroom and subject matter transitions, increased time for in-depth discussion, lab work and collaborative projects. It is a schedule that allows for more creative teaching, more engaged students and a less frenetic pace of daily life. It is a schedule that has been met with enthusiastic support from faculty, parents and students alike.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the schedule change homework loads and expectations?
Teachers continue to use homework assignments for the same purposes for which they have always been currently assigned: to add to existing knowledge, to practice skills and to apply knowledge. Students are encouraged to start their homework the night it is assigned so they can use the following school day to get help with anything that might be unclear to them. With fewer classes offered in one day, homework should be more meaningful as students focus on fewer subjects per night.
Can you explain the purpose of the Common Work Period?
The Common Work Period (CWP) is designed to provide students with the opportunity to do academic work independently, with their classmates, or with their teachers. A daily CWP is offered for 9th – 12th grades, and an extended CWP is offered once every four days for 10th – 12th grade students. Teachers are available during the CWP time to assist students with homework help or provide tutorial assistance, and it is our goal that efficient use of unstructured time will develop independent and autonomous learners. Students will be able to choose among a variety of activities including (but not limited to): conducting research in the library, collaborating with other students on class projects, reviewing with teachers for upcoming assessments, working independently on assignments, and getting extra help.
How do students make up a missed day?
Students have time available during the academic day to see their teachers for any work missed because of absence. Teachers also have set office hours designated specifically for working with students.
How are faculty prepared to make best use of the extended class periods?
Louisville Collegiate School has a rich professional development platform designed to help teachers maximize the full potential of longer teaching periods. Visiting consultants, school visits, departmental pedagogical and methodological planning are all part of this process.