The Super Secret Formula for Improving Student Performance is as follows: 1. Teach the Right Thing. If you aren’t doing that, quit reading right now. Because until you get that rectified, everything else you are doing just doesn’t matter. 2. Teach the Right Thing, Better. This is where the Fundamental 5 comes into play. 3. Teach the Right Thing, Better, and Longer. This is where the master and daily schedules come into play. It is scary how simple the formula is. But what is scarier is the excuses we make for deviating from the formula. The first two parts of the formula are regular topics on the blog but we don’t discuss the third part that often. However, with every school working on next year’s schedule now is the time. Let’s look at the master schedule first. Most secondary schools are running either an 8-period day (45 minute classes) or a 4-period AB block (90 minute classes). So the question becomes, “How many instructional minutes do these schedules create?” The answer for the 8-period day and the 4-period AB block is approximately 63,720 minutes (177 instructional days X 8 periods X 45 minutes) or (177 instructional days X 4 periods X 90 minutes). These two schedules also produce 32 credits in a 4-year high school career. Now, what if you are running a 7-period day (50 minute classes), how many instructional minutes are in that schedule? The answer, approximately 61,950 minutes (177 instructional days X 7 periods X 50 minutes). This schedule produces 28 credits in a 4-year high school career. But what about the 5-period trimester (75 minutes classes), how many instructional minutes are in that schedule? The answer, approximately 66,375 minutes (177 instructional days X 5 periods X 75 minutes). This schedule produces 30 credits in a 4-year high school career. Thus, once again the trimester wins. Offering 4,425 more instructional minutes than the 7-period day and 2,655 more instructional minutes than the 8-period day in a given year. Or to frame this discussion in a more concrete manner, what could teachers and students accomplish with 12½ more days of instruction (trimester vs. 7-period schedule) or 7½ more days of instruction (trimester vs. 8-period schedule)? My guess is a lot. Especially if you follow Steps 1 and 2 of Super Secret School Improvement Formula. Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

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