Accomplishing an appropriate balance of academic and social development for a young child has always been a priority in the Lower School. Young students have developmental needs that must be met to fully embrace academic growth. Supporting these developmental milestones while offering a program that meets the needs of the “whole” child had become quite a challenge.
Supported by the school’s professional development program, Susie Cobbs and I attended a scheduling workshop taught by Roxanne Higgins, an expert in school scheduling from ISM (Independent School Management). Roxanne taught us that by moving to a rotational schedule rather than a traditional Monday through Friday schedule we could support the extended blocks of academic time that our teachers felt necessary. A rotational schedule also allows for more flexibility; longer instructional blocks and a more even distribution of special classes with fewer transitions. We also gained a time for our collaborative grade level team meetings during each rotation!
Next year we will once again make use of creative scheduling even more fully by adding our late start on Wednesday mornings. This time will be dedicated to supporting professional growth and developmental for all teachers. Late-start Wednesdays will also give parents the time to schedule doctor and dental appointments so that children will not miss valuable instructional time. This opportunity for teacher in-service will also help to alleviate the half-day schedules that were a hardship for working parents.
I look forward to this opportunity to see continued growth in both our teachers and our students.