An examination into a Modified Block Schedule (Harriton High School) *Input was gathered from a Harriton science teacher, LMEA President (who also teaches there), the principal of HHS, and myself when I worked at HHS.
Teachers meet each class 3 out of the 4 day cycle due to rotation. This is a 4 day cycle (A,B,C,D). There are 6 academic periods ( each 55min ) per day However, there are 8 ‘sets’ of academic classes built into the schedule. Each day of the 4 day cycle, 2 ‘sets’ rotate out of the schedule. In the example to the right, only Sets 1,2,3,5,6,7 are meeting on ‘A’ day. But on ‘B’ day, Sets 3 & 7 rotate out where Sets 4 & 8 rotate into cycle . Note that Sets 1-4 only rotate about the first 3 periods of the day whereas Sets 5-8 rotate in the afternoon during periods 4-6. * ONLY 2 DAYS OF 4 DAY CYCLE IS SHOWN 25 min of RAM/Advisory at the end of each day. Per Set A Set B 1 1 7:30 – 8:25 55 min 4 7:30 – 8:25 55 min 2 2 8:30 – 9:25 55 min 1 8:30 – 9:25 55 min 3 3 9:30 – 10:25 55 min 2 9:30 – 10:25 55 min 4A 5 10:30 – 11:00 11:05 – 11:35 11:40 – 12:10 55 min class + 10min Announcements 8 10:30 – 11:00 11:05 – 11:35 11:40 – 12:10 55 min class + 10min Announcements 4B 4C 5 6 12:15 – 1:10 55 min 5 12:15 – 1:10 55 min 6 7 1:15 – 2:10 55 min 6 1:15 – 2:10 55 min Advisory – 25 min 2:15 – 2:40 RAM – 25 min 2:15 – 2:40
Total minutes per class at UDHS > HHS. UDHS = 48min x 180days/yr = 8640min/yr HHS = 165min/4day cycle x 45cycle/yr = 7425min/yr Difference is 1215 minutes Class time & Rotation Some of time disparity could be erased utilizing the REM period during last 25min of each day. If a student did that once a cycle (25min x 45cycles) it would equal an additional 1125min yielding total of 8550min falling only 90min short. If Advisory is replaced (strongly encouraged) with REM, you could do this w/ 4 courses. Recall that science gets a double period each cycle yielding extra 2475min/yr = total of 9900min/yr . Therefore 5 courses would have approx time as UDHS.
Class time & Rotation Each period is 55 minutes in length including class during the lunch period (pd 4 or Sets 5-8). In one rotation, ALL classes get the same time. Every fourth day, 2 sets rotate out of the schedule . Must account for this in lesson planning especially if you miss your class on a Friday or Monday. Also, there is the likelihood that if you teach more than one class of the same subject, there will only be certain rotation days that both classes meet the same day. If you teach three or more there is a good chance that there will be NO days when all three meet the same day. Rotation of periods in the morning and the afternoon alleviates the “I’m not awake yet to learn” or athletes always missing the proverbial 7 th pd. School day at HHS (7:30-2:40) is longer than UDHS (7:28-2:20) by 18 minutes BUT pass time between classes is also longer (5 min vs 4min).
Prep, Collaboration, & HC One collaboration period is built into cycle with at least one teacher who teaches the same class. This is in addition to the one prep per day. So there is a day where a teacher has a collaboration and a prep period on the same day in a cycle. Help Center is a place where kids can obviously get help in their subjects but is also a place where make up quizzes and tests are administered. It is the only duty besides a study hall that is assigned to teachers. Help center runs all day with a non teacher in charge. Phys ed teachers are given study halls in lieu of HC. One Prep is assigned to each teacher per day and this period has no pattern to it. It doesn’t occur during the same period or Set each day but rather where it fits.
Remediation & Advisory Remediation is open-ended. This is where assemblies and meetings can take place. REM is whatever the teacher wants it to be…no grades are given. Teacher sets limit on class size to sign up. Teacher can offer extra help, allow for missed work BUT can also offer activities like playing Wii or watching The Office on DVD. Emails have been sent by admin to teachers asking that they make their REM period more interesting due to lack of sign up for their offering. Students are to sign up for each cycle. However, a complaint is that on average there are about 100 kids failing to do so and end up in a huge study hall in cafeteria. Advisory is chosen by Administration and occurs once in the cycle. Teachers hate it (not my words) and the kids don’t care for it either…it’s like an arranged marriage where both parties aren’t too fond of one another. It’s a bunch of touchy feely crap which essentially has turned into an overextended homeroom. Yet another reason not to waste our time on it.
<ul><li>3 lunch periods @ 30 minutes each </li></ul><ul><li>‘B’ lunch is still split, but rotation of afternoon periods makes this less of a burden. </li></ul><ul><li>Classes during period 4 remain 55 minutes long regardless of whether it is A, B, or C lunch. </li></ul><ul><li>There is no homeroom in the morning. Instead, there are 10 minutes of announcements during period 4 class which is 65min long minus the 10min yields 55min of class time. </li></ul>Lunch & Homeroom
Science vs Other Disciplines Science teachers teach 4 classes whereas other disciplines teach 5 classes during the year. However, science classes have one double lab period per cycle. Therefore, science instructs students for a total of 16 periods (4 classes x 4pds) during one cycle whereas the other disciplines teach a total of 15 periods (5 classes x 3pds) per cycle.
Example of a science teacher schedule: Pd Set A B C D 1 7:30-8:25 1 AP Phys 4 Prep 3 CP Phys 2 Help Center 2 8:30-9:25 2 Prep 1 AP Phys 4 Help Center 3 CP Phys 3 9:30-10:25 3 CP Phys 2 AP Phys 1 AP Phys 4 CP Phys 4 10:30-11:35 5 Act Phys (1030-1125) Announcements (1125-1135) 8 Help Center 7 CP Phys 6 Prep 5 12:15-1:10 6 Help Center 5 Act Phys 8 Prep 7 CP Phys 6 1:15-2:10 7 CP Phys 6 Collaboration 5 Act Phys 8 CP Phys ADV 2:15-2:40 Advisory REM REM REM
Additional Comments It was pointed out by the LMEA President who also teaches at the high school that “Harriton has been running this schedule for about six years but Lower Merion just went to it two years ago. The faculty there were very apprehensive and doubtful it was a good change but it was remarkable how many teachers loved it in the first week or two and how much the majority of the staff now say its a great schedule for both the teacher and the student.” “ I happen to teach the AP US Gov't and Politics and I do have enough time to cover all the required chapters. In addition, Harriton also has the IB diploma program and those courses are very content rich as well. I have also taught in that program under the new schedule and find that does not hinder getting through the content. The biggest drain on time, and this has nothing to do with the schedule, are things like PSSA testing and assemblies, field trips, etc. Lastly, I have not heard any grumblings from our AP teachers and our composite scores on AP and IB exams have been quite good under the new schedule.