Frequently Asked Questions | Somers High School New Schedule, Anticipated 2019-2020
Q1: What are the significant differences in the new schedule?
A1: The significant differences in the new schedule are:
- Longer periods for learning (55 minutes vs. 41 minutes)
- Rotating schedule – courses rotate throughout the day in two cycles (morning and afternoon)
- Community Lunch for all staff and students
LONGER LEARNING PERIODS
Q2: Why increase the instructional minutes of each class?
A2: The extended time in class will provide further opportunities to increase the use of a variety of student-centered instructional strategies (e.g., cooperative and small group learning, hands-on projects, project-based learning, and experiential performances). Longer periods will also offer a platform for deeper understanding of concepts and will provide more opportunities for critical thinking and problem solving. Promoting creativity, collaboration, effective communication, and innovation in our students are primary tenets of our school’s mission. We are confident that we will have greater success in these areas when afforded longer time with our students.
Q3: What are the advantages to longer learning periods?
A3: The Present schedule is 41-minute periods x 180 days = 7,380 instructional minutes.
The New Schedule is 55-minute periods x 135 days* = 7,425 instructional minutes.
The advantages to the increase in time to 55-minute periods are:
- More time for research, classroom presentations, debriefing of learning experiences, lesson closure and reflection, and other active learning strategies and
- Assessments with time for practice and
- More time for content depth and higher-level thinking and learning
- Increased time for staff to collaborate during the school day.
- Less fragmentation of instruction and more time on
- More time in class means fewer transitions during the day, allowing for greater focus on learning.
Q4: What will the daily rotation of periods look like?
A4: Each day, 6 academic periods are scheduled. Three classes meet in the morning and three in the afternoon, separated by a “Community Lunch”. One AM class and one PM class does not meet each day.
Q5: Will we maintain the same number of instructional minutes per class over the course of an instructional year?
A5: Actually, we will see a slight increase in instructional minutes over the course of the year as compared to our current schedule.
Q6: Will students lose continuity of instruction if their class does not meet every day?
A6: Through longer instructional periods, our teachers have more time to review previously learned concepts, check for understanding, and reinforce practice. We also believe that by going into greater depth each period, students will better retain information and develop skills.
Q7: What are the advantages of rotation with drop of classes?
A7: The advantages of rotation with drop of classes are:
- Time of day impacts learning, so not having the same class at the same time each day is proven to be beneficial to student learning.
- Instructional process has fewer disruptions and fewer transitions (fewer passing periods each day).
- Day is less frenetic for both students and
- Rotation of classes for a more interesting day (less monotonous).
- Less stress for students – not all subjects meeting each day means schoolwork is more manageable.
- More closely mirrors a collegiate experience and the real world.
Q8: What is Community Lunch?
A8: Community Lunch is when all students eat lunch at the same time. This will be a shared lunchtime during the middle block, which evenly splits the morning and afternoon classes.
Q9: What are the advantages of Community Lunch?
A9: The advantages of Community Lunch are:
- Reinforces healthy lifestyle by encouraging everyone to take a break.
- Builds a greater sense of community.
- Students have choice in how they use their lunch time.
- Provides opportunities for students to meet with counselors and still have lunch.
- Students have more access to College and Career Center programs.
- Students can use time to get extra help in academic areas.
- Students with after school responsibilities can become more involved in clubs/activities if they meet during the Community Lunch.
Q10: Will there be enough serving lines and seating for everyone during the Community Lunch?
A10: Yes – Students will be able to purchase lunch at multiple stations in the cafeteria and commons as well as new kiosks located in the building. Additionally, we are adding seating areas throughout the building to accommodate students. Students will be able to sit in all common areas on the first and second floors.
Q11: Will Community Lunch be monitored by staff?
A11: Yes – Similar to our current format, monitors will be avaiable throughout the period to supervise and support students. Additionally, Community Lunch gives teachers the abilty to eat with students, run clubs, provide "learning lunches," or just connect with students throughout the building. School administration will also be available for supervision during this period as well.
Q12: Will students be permitted to leave during the Community Lunch period?
A12: While we will not be taking away the senior off campus privileges, we will work with our Student Senate to examine how this will work with our new schedule.
OTHER RELEVANT QUESTIONS
Q13: Will there be parent information sessions to explain the new schedule?
A13: Yes, we will have a parent informational night on Thursday, January 31st, 2019 at 7:00 PM in the SHS
Q14: Will the start time and end time of the school day change?
A14: No. Our school day will continue to be 7:35-2:08.
Q15: What happens if school is closed due to inclement weather?
A15: We will work with our faculty through the spring to examine our current practice and determine the best option as we move into our new schedule next year.
Q16: Will the new schedule limit the number of classes a student may take?
A16: As with our current schedule, students will be allowed to take up to 8 classes in their schedule. Since lunch is built in for students and no classes will meet during the Community Lunch, the small number of students who currently take 9 classes will no longer be able to do so.
Q17: How are teachers being prepared to make this switch?
A17: Many of these instructional strategies are already employed by many of our teachers, however, shorter class periods often hinder them being implemented on a more regular basis. However, with the goal of increasing the frequency with which these strategies are employed, we are dedicating significant professional learning time this year to help teachers become even more comfortable with these strategies as well as prepare for the new schedule by developing lesson plans, pacing guides, and assessments.