My Former Coach Writes… Master Schedule Options – Part 1

In response to the 4/16/2013 post, “Master Schedule Options,” one of my former high school coaches and current sitting superintendent, Hal Roberts, writes:

SC,

I was just reading your post on schedules. Things that E. Don Brown did not mention…

It is more expensive than traditional schedule.

Coaches only teach three classes, then have one conference period and one athletic period.

I would not like this schedule for testing purposes. Consider students in algebra (unless tripled blocked) if by chance they did not have algebra in their schedule the 3rd trimester…or any EOC course for that matter. I would hate to see their results, unless they are very smart.

SC Response Coach, while I do some extra conditioning work, E. Don is going to tackle the issues that you highlighted.

EDB Response  I think your last sentence answered the whole question. Most people who attempt the trimester simply change the time they ring the bell and the time grades are given AND THAT IS THEIR CONCEPT OF THE TRIMESTER. Few campuses/districts are willing to initiate the leadership staff workload changes that are necessary to make the schedule “student centric” and not “adult centric.”  Those that have, have experienced dramatic student performance success.

A. The comment about the coaches’ schedule is true on the surface. However when you assign coaches different schedules each trimester (coach during their season, teach outside of it) instead of giving them the same schedule each of the three trimesters you would find very little to no difference to the seven period day.
B. Your comment about testing is also true on the surface. However when you use a concept we call WRAP for fragile students you would find incredible test results and those students completing their four core math and science requirements in the junior year. No test for fragile seniors!

C. When you mention an increase expense our budget constraints in Texas schools today, prevent that from happening. However when you reduce student load by 29% and teacher load by 33% you would be amazed at how many students learn and retain more, pass tests at a higher rate, and do not have to repeat courses.  Now we aren’t expending precious student and teacher time remediating, or even worse, double or triple blocking students in a course. It turns out that these load reductions not only change the culture of the school, the improved student learning and thus reduced repetition and remediation quickly creates a reduction and/or leveling of staffing needs. 

The bottom line is you must be smarter and not just change the time you ring the bell.  I will leave you with this final thought.  Trinity and Bell High Schools run the trimester better than anyone.  Here is what they do…

A. Win state championships.

B. Produce more IB Diplomas than any other schools in Texas.

C. Increase overall state test passing rates while their overall SES status is decreasing each year.

Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

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