Middle School Schedule: Decision-Making Process

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To support student learning in our middle schools and increase operational efficiency, Eugene School District 4J is working to align schedules at  all middle schools. (Why Align Schedules?)

 
The Work Group

The district established a work group to consider what schedule would provide the optimal learning environment for all middle school students while eliminating inequities for students and teachers and addressing the district's operational and fiscal constraints.

The work group comprised 13 middle school teachers and eight middle school principals as well as district staff members. Margot Helphand served as the group's facilitator.

The work group was given the following parameters for a middle school schedule:

  • It would be a trimester schedule.
  • All core subjects (math, language arts, social studies, science) would be taught daily.
  • An advisory program would be included.

With these givens in mind, the work group met for five half-day meetings between mid-November and early January. The group completed its work on January 9, 2013. By a two-thirds vote, group members made the following recommendation to the superintendent for a consistent schedule at middle schools.

Work Group Roster and Meeting Summaries 

 
Work Group Recommendation to Superintendent

  • The schedule would be a six-period day.
  • Teachers would teach five out of six periods.
  • Class periods would be 53 minutes long, plus or minus two minutes.
  • The instructional day would be approximately 8:55 a.m.–3:25 p.m.
  • Schools would remain status quo for advisory programs in 2013–14 unless a school chose to make a change on its own. A study group would make a recommendation for a middle school advisory program that would be implemented in 2014–15.
  • A study group would consider a common calendar for 2013–14 that would provide opportunity for teachers to have professional development time without having to be absent from the classes they teach.

 
Schedule Rollout

During January and February, the superintendent and the secondary education director met with staff and parents at the two middle schools that do not currently have a six-period schedule, Roosevelt Middle School and Kelly Middle School. Their intent was to listen and learn about areas of concern and to provide information as needed.

After hearing input from staff, students, and parents, it was decided to extend the rollout.

Trimester: All middle schools will be on a trimester schedule beginning in 2013–14. This partial step forward will create some efficiencies and provide greater consistency for students moving to a different middle school. 

Six-Period Day: Of the district's eight middle schools, six schools already have six periods per day. The two schools that currently have a different schedule, Kelly and Roosevelt, will have the 2013–14 school year to process the change to a six-period schedule. It is possible that the transition will occur prior to fall of 2014, but that will be decided at each site.