Middle School Schedule Committee
Update 1/20/15: At their January 20 meeting, the District 197 School Board voted to approve the recommended schedule changes. Administrators will now work to implement the new schedule for the 2015-16 school year.


MIDDLE SCHOOL SCHEDULE COMMITTEE OVERVIEW

2014 MCA-III ScoresRaising student academic achievement and narrowing the achievement gap remain priorities for School District 197.  

An analysis of district test data shows a drop in scores occurs in middle school. There could be many factors that contribute to this, such as curriculum or instruction, however administrators have found that in District 197 between fourth (elementary school) and fifth grade (middle school) there is a significant drop in the number of minutes of instruction students receive in core subject areas, such as math and language arts.

Since April 2014 a group of principals, teachers and parents has been meeting to examine this issue further. The group discussed scheduling changes that could better support academic achievement and provide for more instruction in core subjects.

After months of careful study on Dec. 15 the Middle School Schedule Committee recommended to the School Board a schedule change that would, among other improvements:

  • Bridge the transition from an elementary schedule (primarily one teacher) to a middle school schedule (six class periods)
  • Increase 5th and 6th grade students’ instruction time in math, language arts and science
  • Increase instruction in writing from one semester to a full year (meeting every other day) for grades 5 and 6
  • Add a communications course for students in grades 7 and 8
  • Accommodate an intervention program for students who may be struggling in math
  • Offer recess for all students in grades 5 and 6
  • Enhance the “house” structure of the middle schools to create a sense of community for students and staff
  • Create a common prep time for grades 5 and 6 teachers
If adopted by the School Board, the new schedule would be put into place for the 2015-16 school year.

Option D
  • Grades 7 and 8 retain the current six period schedule with a 20 minute Advisory period
  • Grades 5 and 6 move to a block schedule
    • Block 1 = 130 minutes; 65 minutes of language arts, 25 minutes of writing, 40 minutes of social studies
    • Advisory = 25 minutes
    • Recess = 15 minutes
    • Block 2 = 130 minutes; 65 minutes of math, 65 minutes of science
    • Specialist = 54 minutes; three day rotation of Day A: music, Day B: physical education and Day C: an exploratory course (The format of exploratory course(s) is yet to be determined. One possibility is to split the year into thirds and for all students to take a trimester of family and consumer sciences, art, Project Lead the Way or another course.

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NEXT STEPS
The Middle School Schedule Committee presented an update on their work to the School Board on Sept. 22. The committee presented the School Board with a final recommendation on Dec. 15. 

Parent information meetings were held January 12 online and at each school. Click here to view the online webinar.

It is expected that the School Board will discuss the middle school schedule again at their Jan. 20 meeting and make a final decision on whether or not to implement any changes for the 2015-16 school year.


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QUESTIONS?
Please use the following link to submit a question regarding the Middle School Schedule Committee.

Parents/guardians of Heritage or Friendly Hills middle school students are also encouraged to contact their building principal if they have questions about the proposed schedule changes. 

Click here to submit a question