Do you remember where you were and what you were doing 25 years ago? That is how long it has been since we last examined our academic schedule. In that period of time, considerable progress has been made in the field of brain research with relation to education. Taking this all into account, we sought to renovate our academic schedule in our upper grades (5-9) for the following reasons:
1. It was time.
A lot can happen in 25 years. Our old schedule, along with many mainstream educational practices, has not truly seen meaningful change in that time. Our schedule was stagnant and inflexible. With everything we now know about the brain, our Scheduling Committee built an informed schedule from the ground up.
2. A flexible schedule empowers teachers and students.
Part of what has been demonstrated by research is that longer learning periods allow teachers to design and offer more hands-on activities that lead to improved outcomes. This flexibility is exactly what we have added to our new schedule in the form of eighty minute classes.
3. Less is more.
As any IMS student or teacher could tell you, our old schedule was full of transitions. We sought to drastically cut them back in order to create a more stable learning environment. The new schedule brings this to life with the removal of “passing time” and the introduction of longer periods.
4. Not all periods are created equal.
Not all subjects benefit from longer periods, or shorter periods. While an 80 minute period would be a boon for a history project, it would not benefit a language class with regards to vocabulary retention. With our new schedule, some classes meet as many as four times per week, mostly for shorter periods; while others meet as few as three times per week for longer periods. This balance gives us the flexibility that we have long desired.
We are excited to introduce this new schedule and look forward to continued dialogue around the research, motivations, and decision making that went into crafting it!