Middle School Schedule Change

More Choice, More Voice: An Update on the Middle School Schedule Change

School District 197 middle school student schedules will look a little different next year. Thee schedule changes—driven by input from our students, staff, and families—are designed to provide more choices for students, increase support and relationship-building opportunities, and simplify scheduling for everyone involved.

Why Change the Schedule?
To better serve our students, simplify the schedule for families and staff, develop a consistent schedule across both middle schools, ensure we meet the new state media and fine arts standards, and honor student voice in their school experience. 

"Teachers and staff want students to be excited to come to school to learn, and it starts with the schedule. The new schedule offers more flexibility, movement, and choice for students. It will also allow teachers and staff to better meet the needs of individual students.” - Suzy Moulton, Heritage E-STEM teacher and Design Team member

What Was the Process for Changing the Schedule?
After gathering input from current middle school students, staff, and families on ways we can better serve our students, our Middle School Design Team—made up of middle school administrators and staff, along with district administrators—created multiple schedule options that led to the plan we’re rolling out next school year. 

What are the Biggest Changes?

  • Grades 5 and 6 are moving from five classes a day to six classes a day, and electives are moving from every third day to every other day.

  • The 20-minute homeroom will be dropped, and the first period will be extended by 10 minutes to allow for non-instructional activities at the beginning of the day. 

  • Shifting recess in Grade 5 to a 30-minute flex time that will offer unstructured movement breaks as many days of the week as possible (providing students with recess-like options, which include the option to go outside or stay inside), and give students the option for academic activities.

  • Adding a 30-minute flex period in Grades 7 and 8.

  • Students in Grades 7 and 8 will have more opportunities in the areas of the fine arts, including new course offerings in dance, theater, media arts, a new music production class, and more. Students will be required to take classes in two different arts areas. 

  • New courses are offered with the goal of offering students a chance to explore content that leads to high school courses! 


What are the next steps in the registration process?
Registration kicks off in February, just like before, but this time around, we're wrapping it up a bit sooner. Starting from February 12, you will receive your registration materials—keep an eye out for details on when and how they'll be distributed at your specific building (you should get that info soon if you haven't already).

  • Grade 5 students will indicate their art preference.

  • Grade 6 students will indicate their elective preferences.

  • Grade 7 students will indicate their math choice and electives.

Save the Date for 5th-Grade Preview Night!
Both Friendly Hills and Heritage will host a 5th-Grade Preview Night for current fourth-grade families on March 21, 2024. Look for more information coming soon!