Building a Schedule, Building a Culture

All trimesters bring newness, but this trimester had it in spades. With our new schedule, teachers and students had to adapt from 60-minute classes to 80-minute classes, which required adaptation both in contact and in pedagogy. Luckily, we began preparing for this change last spring after rolling out the new schedule—teachers dedicated hours (both in professional development and on their own) to creating new pacing guides and considering new ways to structure classes. As a principal, I get to observe a lot of classes, and I was delighted to see how our teachers have been utilizing this extra time, incorporating multiple shifts to keep students on their toes and using the extra time to dive deeper into their subjects.

An unexpected benefit of the new schedule has been how it’s impacted the student experience. With built-in breaks during the day, a new student culture has emerged, spurred on by the careful planning of the deans, our advisors, and our advisory program. It’s just the start of November, but already we’ve hosted dodgeball tournaments and impromptu volleyball games. We’ve seen our students using the campus in new ways—they hang out on the grass, lounge on the picnic tables, and linger in the halls more than they have in the last few years. It’s amazing what a little bit of time and space can do.

Overall, we’ve had a strong start to the year, and we know it’ll just get better.