Middle Schools Present Recommendation to Change Schedule

Attea Middle School Principal Mark Richter and Springman Middle School Principal Jason Kaiz presented to the Board of Education Monday a recommendation to move the middle school schedule to a fixed block model, which means that the lengths of classes and the order of classes would be fixed in a specific pattern and would remain the same for the entire school year.
Richter and Kaiz said this model would provide the following for their schools:
1.     A sense of order and stability for students
2.     Fidelity of implementation of support and services
3.     Better utilization of staff members to teach multiple grades without locking certain blocks
4.     Maximize use of space in the building
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For approximately 20 years, the middle schools have utilized a model known as a “flexible rotating block schedule,” which means that certain classes do not meet every day, but on the days they do meet, they meet for longer periods of time than other subjects and they can be reorganized so students don’t take them at the same time during the day. For the classes that meet every day, they always meet at the same time each day.
“It was important that we looked at the organization of the schedule and determine whether, 20 years later, this is what is still best for students,” Richter said. “We knew there were certain constraints that needed to be addressed, and it was important that we had the time to thoughtfully develop a recommendation that meant we were going to meet the needs of our students to a greater extent.”
Leading this work was a committee of representatives from both middle schools that has been meeting since fall of 2015. During this time, the committee evaluated a myriad of different options. While some of these options offered positive solutions for students, they presented equal challenges such as having to increase staff or taking time away from other subject areas.
Richter and Kaiz said this final recommendation addresses some specific educational needs and will truly allow for a much more predictable schedule for students. They would like for the committee to continue to meet next school year and dive deeper into some other aspects of the schedule that may need to be adjusted in the future.
The principals will return to the Board in May and share more details about this recommendation, specifically whether the middle schools would like to implement a fixed three-block model or a fixed-four block model.