Time Is an Essential Teacher Resource, So How Can Schools Be More Creative With It?

Time Is an Essential Teacher Resource, So How Can Schools Be More Creative With It?

Mindshift

If it were only up to Loveland High School Assistant Principal Marc Heiser, his school would have flexible modular scheduling, or “flex-mod scheduling.” That basically means that each discipline could decide the ideal class length and number of meetings each week, rather than having a standardized schedule where every class period is 45 minutes, no matter the needs of the department. So, for example, math teachers might want to meet every day for 35 minutes. But art teachers might prefer two class meetings a week, each for 90 minutes.
“What you end up seeing is a bunch of different size classes or shapes on a scheduling board,” Heiser said. “And everything’s not going to line up.” A flex-mod schedule would mean some kids would have gaps of time in their schedules when one class has ended, but the next hasn’t yet begun. Where would that student go? Maybe a resource room to get extra help or do homework, says Heiser.
“We’ve got to give permission to teachers, number one, to think that,” Heiser said. “Also, it’s a lovely thought, but systematically it’s a nightmare.”
‘The master schedule is the heart and soul of a school reflecting our vision and priorities.’Dr. Christina Casillas
Heiser knows. He’s in charge of creating Loveland’s master schedule and it’s incredibly challenging, even when the periods are all the same length. He knows his dream of a flex-mod system would be better for students, but it raises so many logistical questions that don’t have answers yet. How do you track a student through four years of flex-mod scheduling with a gradebook based on semesters, for example?
“I’ve got believers, but I don’t have a smart efficient system,” Heiser said. So, in the meantime, he does his best with a traditional bell schedule, which has very little flexibility.

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