The strategic use of time in a school can be an elusive opportunity for improving learning. It’s made more complex by conflicting priorities and constraints that can be at odds with your goals for learning. All of the noise can result in a master schedule and/or bell schedule that doesn’t serve the central purpose of the school, and a system that makes it overly difficult for teachers to integrate deeper learning experiences.
Redesigning Our System to Center Learning
If this is our system, how do we allocate and use time to best cultivate meaningful, equitable, and inclusive environments that support adult and student learning?
“Structures drive behavior. Organized one way we can be inventive and cooperative; organized in a different way we are uninventive and uncooperative... It’s not about individual performance; it’s about the system. It doesn’t make sense to focus on ‘teacher effectiveness’ without a focus on building a coherent system. As W. Edward Deming said, “A bad system will beat a good person every time.’” - excerpt from this Tom Vander Ark article
An approach to systemic school change is to redesign this system by regrounding in purpose - one that puts equitable deeper learning outcomes for all students first. When schools center the needs of students as they think about the strategic use of time, they are more able to align all school systems and structures to create more equitable deeper learning outcomes for all learners.
Using This Resource
This resource shares a number of key shifts a school might make to support the cultivation of meaningful, equitable, and inclusive learning environments. We encourage you to focus on one or two shifts relevant to your school or district goals and dig into the included resources, links, and examples as you begin to make incremental changes to your system.
Where Should We Begin?
While it’s easy to get stuck in the details, we encourage you to begin, like all good decisions at school, with students at the center. To this end, as you think about how to dive in and where to start, we suggest that you begin with the first recommendation “Center Your Schedule Around Purpose” and use the conversations this brings up to support the prioritization of other key shifts. If you’d like additional support around this resource and scheduling in your context, contact your School Development Coach or a member of our Growth team for more information about supports we can provide.
|Center Your Schedule Around Purpose|
|Scheduling Shifts to Support Meaningful, Equitable, and Inclusive Student Learning|
|Scheduling Shifts to Support Authentic, Relevant, and Collaborative Adult Learning|
Scheduling Examples and Additional Resources