Schools break out of scheduling ruts to improve learning for students, teachers at Bismarck Legacy High School
Newer designs accommodate instructional needs and teach students time management skills
"I don't think all classes need to have the same number of minutes," says Principal Tom Schmidt of Bismarck Legacy High School. The school, now in its fifth year, also tried a block schedule before shifting to this model when it moved into a new building. "We were given the green light to go ahead and do something different."
Will Letter Grades Survive?
A century-old pillar of the school system is under fire as schools look to modernize student assessment.
"The grading system right now is demoralizing and is designed to produce winners and losers," said Scott Looney, head of the Hawken School in Cleveland. "The purpose of education is not to sort kids-it's to grow kids. Teachers need to coach and mentor, but with grades, teachers turn into judges. I think we can show the unique abilities of kids without stratifying them."
A Support Team for Every Student
Three lessons from a marathon runner's training that we can apply to customizing education for each student.
"This is teamwork, I get information from the scientists, information from the management, and from the coaching system. So it's really a circle. You cannot train alone and expect to run faster. There's a formula." -Eliud Kipchoge, marathon runner.
A takeaway lesson to be learned and embraced from the Breaking2 team is that helping students learn at impressive rates requires not only a skilled support team of educators dedicated to go the distance but also a customized learning plan for each student.
How a Focus on Independent Learning Transformed My Most At-Risk Students
Amanda Lotz is a life sciences teacher at at Southside Middle School in New Hampshire.
The goal: Five centers: lab, science skills, reading, technology and a makerspace. Students spend an entire block of class time at a single center, completing a content-based activity or open-ended prompt. Over the course of two weeks, students would alternate each day between being at a center and being in direct instruction. By the end of the cycle, they would have completed four centers and spent four days with me. The other two days are free for whole-class meetings, assemblies, remediation, larger labs or other activities. Students would build a portfolio of center work, add a reflection and I would have the perfect assessment, tailored to each student.