by Amrita Jhooty
As the 2018-2019 school year winds to an end, I met with Carla Zilaff to talk about the future of the daily schedule.
Earlier this year, members of the administration and faculty felt that it was time to look at the current daily schedule, evaluating whether or not it was meeting the OES essential competencies and, ultimately, was in line with the school’s strategic plan. Led by Peter Kraft, this Steering Committee decided that it was time to explore some changes to the schedule, leading to the creation of the Daily Schedule Committee.
The Daily Schedule Committee (DSC) is a group of faculty, dedicated to creating “a daily schedule (and, ultimately, calendar) that fosters a school-wide culture of inquiry and helps develop the Essential Competencies in a healthy and balanced manner.” After meeting for the first time in April, the DSC surveyed students to identity the pro’s and con’s of our daily schedule. This response combined with some outside research allowed the DSC to decide what changes to prioritize.
Although nothing has been confirmed, the DSC has been heavily leaning towards a later start for high school and middle school students. New research has indicated that an 8:30 start allows for overwhelming benefits, and many high schools have adopted this schedule. However, with OES being a K-12 school, the DSC has to consider how this change to the high school will affect the overall bus schedule. Currently, the committee has been considering a staggered start, with the day beginning at 8:00 for the lower school, 8:15 for the middle school, and 8:30 for the high school. But as of now, the committee is still reaching out to other schools and determining what is best for our school.
Additionally, the DSC has considered having longer classes, shifting from 55 minute class periods to 70 minute blocks. Similar to the late start proposal, the committee is still considering how this would be incorporated into the schedule. Carla mentioned that “the goal of this is not for teachers to lecture for 70 minutes straight, but for teachers to allow time for students to do homework and other interactive learning.”
Now, the DSC will present their chosen schedule to the OES community sometimes during the spring of next year. This will allow for teachers to redesign their curriculum, if its needed, to fit the schedule before the next school year. So, freshman and sophomores, stay tuned for some potential changes during your junior and senior year!