Middle School Schedule Redesign

  • The CB Middle School Schedule Committee’s 10 teams refined their preliminary models for potential schedules, or “blueprints,” at their March 21 meeting. The committee comprises nearly 60 members, including students, parents, teachers, administrators, supervisors, and Board members. At the most recent meeting they discussed a variety of models used in middle schools, such as traditional or rotating based on seven to nine periods. The committee also considered the four-by-four block schedule, which currently is used in the district’s high schools.

    The teams discussed numerous schedule options, such as the number and length of periods and the number of special classes, such as art and music, that should be offered. The committee also considered how many periods each week should be allocated for specials and the need for a Resource period. The 10 teams refined their blueprints and submitted them to Dr. Scott Davidheiser, CB Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education. He said one to two potential models will be derived from the blueprints for discussion at the committee’s next meeting.

    Some photos from the meetings and preliminary schedule blueprints are posted here. The committee invites comments, questions, and suggestions. Please use MSschedule@cbsd.org.

    Background

    The Central Bucks School District initially engaged our district community in reflecting on the current middle school academic schedule through a survey distributed last October. The survey was developed by the district’s administration and sent via e-mail blast, Facebook, and Twitter to parents and secondary students.

    The feedback from that survey, which was compiled and sorted into seven groups, is posted below. Additionally, student and teacher focus groups were conducted at each of the five middle schools in November. Follow-up questions were posed to each of the groups across the five middle schools in order to help dig deeper into the survey data (themes from both focus groups are posted below).

    To provide parents with details of the focus group and survey results, and to discuss their thoughts and concerns, the district held special meetings in January at each of the five middle schools.

    Kickoff Meeting

    From those well-attended meetings, 14 parents were invited to join the Middle School Schedule Committee, along with 10 students (two from each middle school), 13 teachers and guidance counselors, 10 principals, and 12 curriculum supervisors, curriculum coordinators and special education supervisors. The committee’s first meeting, which was held February 7, focused on developing a shared understanding of the Central Bucks District’s philosophy and expectations for our middle schools (see photos here).

    “Our work on the middle school schedule will be grounded in all of the aspects of student life in middle schools,” Scott Davidheiser, Ed.D., assistant superintendent for secondary education, told the committee. He thanked those attending the kickoff meeting and discussed the plan for the five meetings set for this spring.

    The committee will be reviewing published research and other documents on middle school teaching and learning to inform the discussion on the Central Bucks middle school schedule. Below are links to three article discussed at the February 7 meeting.

    Developmental Characteristics of Young Adolescents

    Best Practices in Middle School Program Design

    The Middle School Philosophy: Do We Practice What We Preach Or Do We Preach Something Different?

    Below are the articles were provided to committee before the February 27 meeting.

    The Schedule as a Tool to Improve Student Learning

    Today’ s Middle Schools Combining Education with Life Experiences

    The Politics and Sustainability of Middle School Reforms

     

CLOSE