Saturday, December 17, 2011

Traditional scheduling cannot address at risk students needs

An email came across our admin listerv in my state.  A principal wanted to see what other schools are doing in terms of giving zeros and dealing with students who are at risk.  Many people replied back with different styles of how they handle missing work.  Very few had scheduling systems that gave students extra time.  

I am a firm believer that we cannot address at risk students with a traditional schedule.  Most research says that ALL students can learn if we give them ample time.  

I heard this a while back from a speaker about separating students that "Can't" from students that "Won't."  With this in mind over the last three years, we have been continuously improving our system.  

Currently we are intervening with students that struggle in Math and English. We have made an effort using three forms of data to find if a student can't or won't do the work.  Lunch intervention is for students who won't do the work.  Students that can't do the work due to X,Y and Z will be placed in Math and/or English intervention during Block 5.  Below is it the current setup that we are using to address needs of students.  

Due to systematic changes such as these we have increased the graduation rate to 100% the last two years, and reduced the number of failed classes from 39 in 2008-2009 to five in 2010-2011 school years.  

How we use flexible scheduling: 
  • Block scheduling (A/B day setup - Blue Day/Gold Day) (90% of core classes take place blocks 1-3)
    • Block 1 (90 minutes)
    • Block 2 (90 minutes)
    • Block 3 (90 minutes)
    • LUNCH (45 minutes)
      • We expanded lunch hour to 45 minutes 
      • Students that are passing all classes have a normal lunch
      • Students that are failing spend Mon-Fri in lunch intervention as a working lunch - Teachers supervise these students
      • Students are notified on Monday of every week - if they are failing a class they spend the entire week in lunch intervention 
    • Block 4 (45 minutes)
    • Block 5 (45 minutes) 
      • AKA Student Responsibility Block (Students not in focused intervention - are able to move freely to work with teachers they need help from)
      • PLC Time (English/Social studies Wed/Thurs) (Math/Science Mon/Tues)
      • English/LA Intervention (Mon/Tues) 3 teachers and an aid work with these students 
      • Math Intervention (Wed/Thurs) 2 teachers and an aid 

We need to think outside the box to address students that struggle.  I believe this can only be done through flexible scheduling.  How have you created systematic changes to ensure learning for all?  

What is your system of separating the Can'ts from the Won'ts?

*It must be noted that some students can't and won't do the work.  These are the most difficult.  

If there is a schedule that works for you, please send it my way.  @mdmcneff

1 comment:

  1. We used a flex period when I was a high school AP. We shortened 90 min block by about 10 min and create 45 min period that was only enrichment or support. Success depended upon the department and how creative they got, how well they collaborated. You really saw the difference made with the kids who needed it. Scheduling is a huge, often overlooked critical component to student achievement.