Dear PHS Parents and Students, October 20, 2017
During the week of October 23rd, we will alter our regular daily bell schedule. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday will follow the regular 8 period schedule, but then on Thursday (Oct. 26) and Friday (Oct. 27) we will follow a 4-period schedule. (The schedule is detailed at the end of this letter.)
During the ’16-’17 school year, the PHS Faculty and I embarked on a journey to learn more about what a “21st century high school” might be like for students and teachers. While the talk of a “bell schedule committee” garnered the most attention, we have and continue to explore the work of leading educators, such as Heidi Hayes Jacobs, who promote the idea that actual and lasting transformational change requires coherent change to the use of time, space, groupings, curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
October 26th and 27th will be a two day experience for students and teachers to work together for longer periods of time. As we look to make changes to our bell schedule for 2018-2019, we are moving forward the recommendation from the committee to include a combination of long and short periods with rotating periods during a given week.
The schedule for next week is not the exact schedule for 2018, but does include the use of longer periods of time for the purpose of giving our students and teachers an opportunity to experience and experiment during the 2 days of longer periods.
Teachers have been preparing for the two day experience of longer class periods, which was the focus of our recent in-service day. We know from the research that professional learning is best when it is “job-embedded” and we are excited to try different instructional strategies and approaches in the coming days and weeks to follow. As I have mentioned above, and stress repeatedly any time I speak on the subject, the change of a bell schedule is only one component of the overall transformation that we are looking to make in the coming years. For example, some teachers are experimenting with different uses of space in and out of the classrooms, while a few others will be experimenting with different student furniture in the classroom.
The pedagogical work is centered on a desire to provide students with additional opportunities to construct and apply their knowledge. Philosophically, this dates back to the early 1900s with John Dewey, and yet, is considered to be on the forefront of contemporary learning in the 21st century. In practice, you might see students more engaged with projects and/or real world problems as teachers explore the uses of “problem-based learning” and “project-based learning”.
Our work is simultaneously exciting and challenging. Change does not come easily for a variety of reasons. We will continue to approach our work as learners and utilize the field of research supporting transformative change to the high school experience. Some of our work has included visits (actual and virtual) to higher education institutions where we have been inspired
by the multi-disciplinary and real world application of knowledge settings that colleges are creating.
The schedule for next week is below. After this week, we will reflect on the experience and gather input from staff and students. In the weeks to follow, we will be looking to finalize a prototype design for our 2018-2019 schedule.
Gary R. Snyder
Week of October 23rd:
Monday: Regular Schedule Periods 1-8 (G cycle day)
Tuesday: Regular Schedule Periods 1-8 (A cycle day)
Wednesday: Regular “1:49 Wednesday” Schedule Periods 1-8 ( B cycle day)
Thursday: Experimental Schedule (D cycle day)
Period 1 7:50 am – 9:21 am
Period 4 9:31 am - 10:59 am
BREAK 10:59 am – 11:41 am
Period 5 11:45 am – 1:13 pm
Period 8 1:23 pm – 2:51 pm
Friday: Experimental Schedule (D cycle day)
Period 2 7:50 am – 9:21 am
Period 3 9:31 am – 10:59 am
BREAK 10:59 am – 11:41 am
Period 6 11:45 am – 1:13 pm
Period 7 1:23 pm – 2:51 pm
**Please make note of order of class periods on Thursday & Friday!