Introduction 01
October — Curriculum and Course Review 02
February — Preregister for the Coming Year 04
March — FTEs, Teac...
Building a Master Schedule
Introduction
One of the more difficult tasks that school administra-
tors face is creating a ma...
Building a Master Schedule
review the order and timing of the steps that you will need
to followto ensure that the master ...
Building a Master Schedule
processes from the prior year that led to the development
of the current master schedule. You s...
Building a Master Schedule
edge those changes at this time, and try to determine how
the master schedule needs to be adjus...
Building a Master Schedule
passed, students who have not preregistered will be placed
by the administration according to c...
Building a Master Schedule
March — FTEs, Teacher Demand, and Course
Loads
States have formulas that they use to generate A...
Building a Master Schedule
additional Spanish teacher to meet you course load. Con-
versely, you may reduce the French sta...
Building a Master Schedule
April — Scheduling Conflicts
Singletons. One of the earliest thing that you need to con-
sider ...
Building a Master Schedule
April — Build Your Master Schedule
You’ve now been working on you master schedule for
about six...
Building a Master Schedule
teachers or students. Therefore, consider them as early as
possible so you don’t have to rearra...
Building a Master Schedule
ronment, they have to choreograph their individual plans
so that they are perceived as working ...
Building a Master Schedule
Use the space below to add other issues you think
that you may encounter for your particular sc...
Building a Master Schedule
1. The first rule you should follow before you start building
your master schedule is to block ...
Building a Master Schedule
Steps
At this point in the building process it is time to deter-
mine how you are going to buil...
Building a Master Schedule
That method will allow you more flexibility to facilitate
movement. Finally, you can build your...
Building a Master Schedule
Staff Conflicts. Finally, you should check for teacher con-
flicts, including preferences, prep...
Building a Master Schedule
tion and master schedule should be loaded into the Stu-
dent Information System (SIS), and you ...
Building a Master Schedule
Summary
Building a master schedule that takes all of the variables
into account is not a small ...
Building A Master Schedule
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Building A Master Schedule

  1. 1. Introduction 01 October — Curriculum and Course Review 02 February — Preregister for the Coming Year 04 March — FTEs, Teacher Demand, and Course Loads 06 April — Scheduling Conflicts 08 April — Build Your Master Schedule 09 May — Simulations and the Final Schedule 16 June — Modifications and Adjustments 17 Summary 18 Table of Contents http://drpfconsults.com
  2. 2. Building a Master Schedule Introduction One of the more difficult tasks that school administra- tors face is creating a master schedule. It can be an over- whelming job that takes much of the prior school year to develop in order to create a schedule that considers the classes and services you are trying to provide, and resources that you have available. “...ifyourschoolhas someconcernsabout theliteracylevelofa significantportionof thestudentbody,then literacyintervention programsandprac- ticesneedtobebuilt intothemastersched- ule...” Among the things that you must consider before build- ing a schedule is the particular learning needs of your stu- dent population. For example, if your school has some concerns about the literacy level of a significant portion of the student body, then literacy intervention programs and practices need to be built into the master schedule in a manner that they don’t conflict with other classes or the teachers’ workload. If you don’t consider where they should be scheduled right from the start, you may have dif- ficulty inserting them as an afterthought. Similarly, if you are located in a state that has mandated testing where a passing grade is required for graduation, and you have identified that there are some students who will need extra support to pass one or more of the exams, then you will want to consider how those subject should be reinforced, and whether you will need to set aside time in the master schedule for those interventions as well. This guide will http://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriellohttp://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriello All Rights Reserved 1
  3. 3. Building a Master Schedule review the order and timing of the steps that you will need to followto ensure that the master schedule process goes smoothly and successfully. The processes that are included for discussion in this guide are: • curriculum and course review • tallies and sections • teacher demand and course loads • scheduling conflicts • building the master schedule • simulations and final schedule • modifications and adjustments With proper planning and organization, the difficulties in the process for developing your master schedule can be minimized. This guide will be useful in laying out the steps and providing topics for reflection and discussion. October — Curriculum and Course Review As early as October you should begin working on your master schedule for the coming year. Although the school year has barely begun, it is time to begin reviewing the http://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriellohttp://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriello All Rights Reserved 2
  4. 4. Building a Master Schedule processes from the prior year that led to the development of the current master schedule. You should be looking at the courses that are presently in progress, and try to deter- mine which ones will be renewed into the next school year, which may need to be added, and which may need to be altered or eliminated due to lack of success of the program or the projected changes in the school’s population. Course codes, DCT, Course Descriptions, and the Course Catalog. You should review course codes, your district’s curriculum table (DCT), course descriptions, and the cur- rent course catalog. Having access to those items and mak- ing sure they are updated with new information will make the transition process to next year’s master schedule easier. “Octoberisalsoatime torevisitthecurrent masterscheduleitself andsomepriormaster schedulestodeter- minewhatstepsinthe processwentwell,and whichstepscauseddif- ficulty.“ October is also a time to revisit the current master schedule itself and some prior master schedules to deter- mine what steps in the process went well, and which steps caused difficulty. Of the things that went well, try to decide if modifications will make them work even better. For that were problematic, you should decide how you can change the process to ensure that you don’t run into the same issues when writing the new schedule. If you are aware of changes in the teaching staff or the curriculum needs for the coming year, you should acknowl- http://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriellohttp://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriello All Rights Reserved 3
  5. 5. Building a Master Schedule edge those changes at this time, and try to determine how the master schedule needs to be adjusted in order to accommodate the differences. Discuss all of the potential changes with the members of your staff so they can pro- vide you feedback that may be valuable when you are writ- ing the new master schedule. You should also share your thoughts and decisions with your school community. By doing so, you will prevent having to deal with any last-min- ute objections or complaints. February — Preregister for the Coming Year The next step of the master scheduling process is to begin to gather tallies. There will be some elective classes for the coming year that you will have to consider when constructing the schedule. Therefore, you need to establish a method for determining the selections that the students will make, and establish a time frame for gathering the data. You should require that the students have a set period of time when they can preregister for the coming semester. Have your staff distribute a Student Course Request form (SCR) to each student who will be attending in the coming year. Students will be required to fill it out before a predetermined deadline. Once the deadline has http://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriellohttp://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriello All Rights Reserved 4
  6. 6. Building a Master Schedule passed, students who have not preregistered will be placed by the administration according to class availability. Master Tally. When you have gathered up the preregistra- tion information you will be able to enumerate the results on a tally worksheet, which in turn will be used to create a master tally of student requests. That tally will generate an Enrollment Request Tally Report that can provide useful information to predict how many sections you will need to accommodate the number of students taking each class. “Baseduponthenum- berofsectionsyou determinewillbe neededtoaccommo- datethestudent requestsforeach department,anddeci- sionsaboutwhich coursesyouwillneed tocancel,youcanto begindeterminingthe numberofstaffmem- bersyouwillneedto fillthestudent’s requests.” You will need to know the number of sections for each course and each department. You may have to cancel some courses based upon lack of interest or low preregis- tration numbers. Based upon the number of sections you determine will be needed to accommodate the student requests for each department, and decisions about which courses you will need to cancel, you can to begin determin- ing the number of staff members you will need to fill the student’s requests. A staff projection worksheet can be helpful to determine what kind of scheduling demands will be placed upon your staff. It can also help you decide whether those demands will be met by the current teach- ers and support staff, and illustrate where you need to make adjustments in your work force for the next school year. http://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriellohttp://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriello All Rights Reserved 5
  7. 7. Building a Master Schedule March — FTEs, Teacher Demand, and Course Loads States have formulas that they use to generate ADA reports , average daily attendance reports, which are used to determine a school’s need for teachers. Schools use the ADA numbers to decide the FTE, full-time equivalent teachers that are needed to cover the school’s workload. The reports are useful in determining how many students will be attending school in the coming year, and how many teacher will be needed to cover the population. Depend- ing upon classroom size and the number of students enrolled, the master scheduler can use FTE reports to help determine the number of classes and sections that will need to be filled for the coming year. Teacher Demand . FTEs for staff and students numbers should be considered along with enrollment figures to determine the teacher demand, and how that will affect the master schedule. It is not simply enough to say that there is an average classroom size of “x” students, so we need “y” teachers to cover the classes. Course loads must also be put into the mix. If there is a considerably greater demand for Spanish than French courses, for example, then you will likely have more sections for the Spanish teacher(s) to cover. You may find that you need to hire an http://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriellohttp://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriello All Rights Reserved 6
  8. 8. Building a Master Schedule additional Spanish teacher to meet you course load. Con- versely, you may reduce the French staff or cut the teacher(s) hours because there aren’t going to be enough sections in French class to warrant additional teachers. Budget changes may also affect whether you can hire addi- tional staff to cover personnel shortages. Use FTE numbers along with budgetary changes to decide how to creatively problem solve discrepancies between teacher numbers and teacher demand. “...trytocomeupwith waysthatyoucan includeyourstaff’s preferencesintothe masterschedulepro- cesswithoutcompro- misingtheneedsofthe studentbody.” Teacher Preferences. Teachers also have preferences that you need to at least consider when creating the master schedule. Some teacher prefer to teach earlier in the day, for example. If they are part-time staff, they may need to get to another school for the end of the day. To the best of your ability, try to come up with ways that you can include your staff’s preferences into the master schedule process without compromising the needs of the student body. Department heads may be valuable resources for deciding how to accommodate staff members by providing alterna- tive solutions. Work with the department heads to deter- mine possible teacher course loads. http://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriellohttp://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriello All Rights Reserved 7
  9. 9. Building a Master Schedule April — Scheduling Conflicts Singletons. One of the earliest thing that you need to con- sider to help reduce conflicts in the schedule is to deter- mine where to put any singletons or doubletons. They are classes that will only be offered onceor twice during the year, so they may be challenging. They are among the hardest things to schedule at the end without creating conflicts, so thinking about their placement early is crucial to your planning. “Ifthereareahigh numberofstudents whoareenrollingin bothclasses,itisbestif youcanschedulethem indifferentperiodsof thedaytoavoidcon- flictsintheindividual schedulesofthestu- dentswhoarerequest- ingboth.” Conflict Matrix Report. You should also use and under- stand the information on a conflict matrix report, which you can generate from the data you have already taken. On the report, you will see a comparison between two classes, with a numerical value that shows the number of students who are requesting to take both classes. If there are a high number of students who are enrolling in both classes, it is best if you can schedule them in different periods of the day to avoid conflicts in the individual schedules of the stu- dents who are requesting both. http://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriellohttp://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriello All Rights Reserved 8
  10. 10. Building a Master Schedule April — Build Your Master Schedule You’ve now been working on you master schedule for about six months, and the current school year is already winding down. Your focus to this point has been on num- bers (tallies, sections, FTEs, etc), and departments (course loads, conflicts). Now it is time to put to use all of the infor- mation from the reports that you have gathered and start making programs for your students. To do that you will need to consider what issues you may encounter, the rules that will guide you and support you along the way, and the steps you will need to take to complete this stage of the master schedule process. Issues Some of the following issues will affect every school dis- trict, while others may or may not apply to your school. However, they are included to afford you the opportunity to determine whether you should consider them. Special Programs. The first issue you may encounter in the building stage is special programs. They service a group of students and you have to provide adequate space, equipment, and staff for special program to take place. It is likely that they will cause scheduling conflicts for http://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriellohttp://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriello All Rights Reserved 9
  11. 11. Building a Master Schedule teachers or students. Therefore, consider them as early as possible so you don’t have to rearrange large portions of your schedule to accommodate them. Singletons and Doubletons. In a similar manner, single- tons and doubletons will need to fit into the master sched- ule in a way that they don’t conflict with the rest of your calendar. Therefore you should plan them in early and build the rest of the schedule around them. Once they have been scheduled, try not to move them or they may cause problems elsewhere. “...youmayalsoneed toprovideaCPT,com- monplanningtime period,sotheycan workonthecurriculum fortheclasstogether.” Team Teaching. Team teaching may be another area of concern for the master scheduler. There are many advan- tages to using a team teaching approach in some classes, so it may be inevitable that you have to accommodate their special circumstances into the schedule. If you have some classes that are taught by more than one teacher simultaneously, then you may encounter some scheduling issues that you wouldn’t normally see. For example, your staff members who are teaching the class may have con- flicting preferences. Also, apart from making room in the schedule to accommodate two teachers in the same spot, you may also need to provide a CPT, common planning time period, so they can work on the curriculum for the class together. For teachers to be successful in a team envi- http://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriellohttp://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriello All Rights Reserved 10
  12. 12. Building a Master Schedule ronment, they have to choreograph their individual plans so that they are perceived as working together. Therefore, coordinating both the class and preparation time in a team-taught class may be a difficult challenge. Parallel Classes . Sometimes students may be offered par- allel classes. These are classes that are related to each other enough so that they may have a need to switch from one to the next during the year. In order to accomodate those changes, it is best if they are scheduled during the same period of the day. If a student has to change to a parallel class, and it meets a different period, then the student’s other classes have to change as well. Making many changes can cause your job to become much more compli- cated. Therefore, it is best if you can schedule the parallel classes together from the start. Staggered Schedules. You may also be faced with a situa- tion where students are on a staggered schedule, so some students arrive earlier than others, while others leave late. In this case, you need to be aware of the size of the student population at any given point in the day, and create a schedule that is equally accessible to the entire student body. http://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriellohttp://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriello All Rights Reserved 11
  13. 13. Building a Master Schedule Use the space below to add other issues you think that you may encounter for your particular school: Rules This section provides some rules that you may choose to follow as they are or customize in order to minimize the potential for conflicts in the master schedule. Table 1: Additional issues you may encounter Issue Anticipated Problem/Resolution http://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriellohttp://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriello All Rights Reserved 12
  14. 14. Building a Master Schedule 1. The first rule you should follow before you start building your master schedule is to block out specific times for pro- gramming that relates to special groups and interventions. Their needs may be difficult to accommodate later in the process, so put them in early. 2. Singletons are courses that are offered only once in the schedule. You should place singletons into the schedule, based on the data from the conflict matrix report. Once you have decided where to put them, avoid changing them. If you try to move them later, you may need to move around much of your schedule to accommodate them. 3. Another good rule is to decide how many teacher prep periods you will allow, and decide where they should go. By setting the rules early you may find that you will encounter less problems down the road. Below is a chart where you can customize the rules to meet your needs. “Onceyouestablishthe rules,sticktothemand youwillfindthesched- ulingprocesswillgoa lotmoresmoothly.” Below is a table that you can use to customize the rules for creating your master schedule. Decide on the rules based upon the suggestions in this guide, and the prob- lems you have discovered from past scheduling difficulties. Once you establish the rules, stick to them and you will find the scheduling process will go a lot more smoothly. http://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriellohttp://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriello All Rights Reserved 13
  15. 15. Building a Master Schedule Steps At this point in the building process it is time to deter- mine how you are going to build your master schedule. One plan is to build it by program. In using that method, you will create a schedule according to academics, ESL, AP, Honors, Special Education, and various other programs that you must accommodate. Another method for building your schedule is to write it according to parallel classes. Table 2: Setting the Rules Rule How you will apply it http://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriellohttp://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriello All Rights Reserved 14
  16. 16. Building a Master Schedule That method will allow you more flexibility to facilitate movement. Finally, you can build your master schedule by grade, considering the student population and their aca- demic needs. There may be other methods you can use to organize your work. Consider which method will be most advantageous and stick to that plan. Checking for Conflicts in the Master Schedule Student Conflicts. Once you have built the schedule, you will need to check it for conflicts in a number of areas. One important area you should check is the individual student schedules. You need to ensure that they have all of their required classes, and that you haven’t scheduled them for more than one class in the same period. You should also check the sections per period that you need, and deter- mine whether your master schedule meets those needs. Special Equipment. Room usage is an important area to check. Special programs like art, gym, lab, computers, and special needs each require equipment that may be specific to different classrooms in your school building. You should confirm that all of these classes are meeting in the proper place, and that only one group is scheduled to use that space at a time. http://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriellohttp://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriello All Rights Reserved 15
  17. 17. Building a Master Schedule Staff Conflicts. Finally, you should check for teacher con- flicts, including preferences, prep periods, and classes. If staff members are less than full-time teachers, be sure they are only scheduled for classes during periods when they are in the building. Can you think of other ways you can check your mas- ter schedule for conflicts? May — Simulations and Final Schedule Now that you have built the master schedule, it is time to see how it will work in practice. Therefore, you should conduct a simulation. By it’s nature, a simulation should be designed to make any issues in the schedule become obvi- ous. It will also help you decide how to cap classes if you have additional enrollment. “...reportswillhelpyou analyzethedatato determinewhetherthe scheduleneedtobe adjusted.” Generate Reports. You should use the data from your sim- ulation to generate a Simulation Report, a Scheduler Status Report, and a Master Capacity Balance Report. These reports will help you analyze the data to determine whether the schedule need to be adjusted. Simulations should be repeated after the changes to show the effect that they have on the master schedule. Your final simula- http://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriellohttp://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriello All Rights Reserved 16
  18. 18. Building a Master Schedule tion and master schedule should be loaded into the Stu- dent Information System (SIS), and you can begin placing students into class sections. While loading students you will find that it is best to start with the classes that are the hardest to schedule, singletons and interventions. June — Modifications and Adjustments “...youmayneedto makemodificationsor adjustmentsfromJune untilthenextschool yearisunderway.” As the school year comes to an end, you should be aware that your master schedule may need to be modified to accommodate end of the year surprises, like a teacher deciding to retire, budgetary changes, families selling their homes and moving away, or new families moving into the district. You may also need to make changes due to courses that students take over the summer for credit. There are many situations you may encounter that will necessitate accommodations in the schedule. Therefore, you may need to make modifications or adjustments from June until the next school year is underway. http://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriellohttp://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriello All Rights Reserved 17
  19. 19. Building a Master Schedule Summary Building a master schedule that takes all of the variables into account is not a small task. It is a process that pro- gresses slowly from shortly after the school year begins, through summer vacation. You may even need to make modifications in the beginning of the school year to adjust for new enrollment or students requesting class assign- ment changes. “...ifyouareprepared forissues,establish rulesthatwillguide you,anddecidewhat planofactionyouwill usetobuildyoumaster schedule,youmayfind thattheprocesswillgo moresmoothlythanit hasinprioryears.” Along the way there are many issues that, if you are not prepared, can make the master scheduler’s task very diffi- cult. There are special circumstances that can cause con- flicts in the schedule if they are not planned in from the beginning. However, if you are prepared for issues, estab- lish rules that will guide you, and decide what plan of action you will use to build you master schedule, you may find that the process will go more smoothly than it has in prior years. http://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriellohttp://drpfconsults.com Copyright © 2009 Dr. Patricia Fioriello All Rights Reserved 18

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