High School Schedule Advisory Committee
In 2014, the Washington State Legislature passed E2SSB 6552, a law which directed the State Board of Education to implement the 24-credit graduation requirement for the Class of 2019 and beyond. Previously, the state requirement has been 22 credits. In addition to the increase in credits required to graduate, other emerging needs make this an opportune time to review the high school daily schedule and determine if an alternative schedule might provide greater flexibility for meeting the diverse needs of students and, ultimately, ensuring they are prepared for career, college and citizenship.
In the spring of 2016, the Snoqualmie Valley School District launched a High School Schedule Advisory Committee (HSSAC) to explore possible changes to the six-period daily bell schedule at Mount Si High School. The committee, comprised of high school students, parents and staff, has been given the charge to consider research, investigate various schedule options in use at other high schools, gather feedback from stakeholders, and provide a recommendation to the superintendent that includes a possible timeline for implementation.
At this time, many high schools in the region are re-examining their schedules in anticipation of the new requirements. All the options being explored by the SVSD committee are being used successfully in high schools in this state.Below, updates and resources from the High School Schedule Advisory Committee will be posted as they continue this important work. For additional details, explore link to the left regarding: committee information, schedule options, graduation requirements and frequently asked questions.
Several more HSSAC Committee and MSHS Staff meetings took place throughout May and June to refine the options for a recommendation that would meet the objectives and have strong support from Mount Si staff. At a MSHS Staff meeting on June 13, 2017, a recommendation was presented that worked to the address priorities that had received considerable discussion. After a final question and answer session, a paper ballot vote was taken. With 93 ballots cast, a little over 90% of staff supported the recommendation of the committee — to adopt a 7 period day with a modified block schedule 2 days a week, for implementation in the fall of 2018. See to the Executive Summary below for more details.Mount Si High School Staff Update and Work session on Friday, April 28. The HSSAC provided an update to all staff, then committee members facilitated table group discussions. They requested feedback from staff about the three variations of the 7-period day alternating block schedules being considered. Resources included:
HSSAC Committee meetings on April 26. The committee engaged in extended discussion about a new variation within the 7-period alternating block schedule that blocks 3 days per week. In this new variation, block periods were reduced to about 70 minutes in length and either 4 or 5 classes would meet on block days, in a rotating schedule. Ultimately, the committee set this new variation aside.School Board HSSAC Report (#4) on April 20. The committee provided a brief update for the School Board including the decision to recommend a 7-period day alternating block schedule. It was also shared that the committee is now trying decide on the specific type of block schedule. See the following presentation for details:HSSAC Committee meetings on April 19. The committee again spent the bulk of the meeting discussing schedule specifics. They focused on trying to identify in the 7-period alternating block schedule, where blocking occurs 4 times per week, which day of the week all 7 periods would meet. Options included a Monday periods 1-7 schedule, a Wednesday periods 1-7 schedule, and a Friday periods 1-7 schedule. After significant discussion, the committee voted to set aside the Monday and Wednesday 7-period options, and decided, by consensus, to move forward in the process with a schedule that has block periods Monday- Thursday and all 7 periods meeting on Friday.
- Schedule Change Frequently Asked Questions (updated 4-28-17)
- MSHS Staff Update & Work Session presentation 4-28-17
Schedule details were also reviewed for relatively new variation on the 7-period day schedule that contains blocked days three times per week (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) with all 7 periods meeting on Monday and Friday.The committee also reached consensus on April 19 to eliminate the 4 x 8 Alternating Block Schedule. A key concern that surfaced was the challenge of teachers being responsible for up to ~180 students (6 classes times ~30 students per class). Another key factor had to do with frequency of classes meeting. In the 4 x 8 schedule, half the classes would only meet two times each week or only five times over a two-week cycle.HSSAC Committee meetings on March 29 and April 6. During these two meetings, the committee began discussing variations with the 7-period alternating block schedule. There was interest in modeling sample schedules that have:
HSSAC Committee meeting on March 16. The committee reviewed feedback from the Student Focus Group meeting and the Parent Information Night, both held earlier in the week. After reviewing some additional details of each of the three schedule options still under consideration, participants voted to set aside the 3 x 5 Trimester schedule option. They will now focus on additional details of the 7-period modified block schedule and the 4 x 8 block with alternating days schedule. Resources shared include:
- block days 2 days per week
- block days 3 days per week
- block days 4 days per week
HS Scheduling Parent Information Meeting #2 on March 14. Parents and community members were invited to a second High School Schedule Advisory Committee Parent Information Night to get an update on the work of the committee since November. After a presentation overview/update, attendees broke into small groups to discuss in more detail the three options under consideration and provide feedback to the committee. Resources shared:
Student Focus Groups were conducted for a second time, on Monday morning, March 13, and involved approximately 35 Mount Si High School students. Students were provided a brief update on some of the HSSAC work that has occurred since November. Students then participated in an activity where they reviewed sample 4 year plans and draft daily schedules for each of the three schedule modules and then shared out their thoughts on each. Resources used during the meeting included:
School Board HSSAC Report (#3) on March 9. The committee updated the School Board on progress to date, sharing some of the observations from the recent visits to other high schools. See the following presentation for details:
HSSAC Committee Meeting on March 9. The meeting primarily focused on a group debrief of the three sites visits that occurred over the past two weeks.
Committee visit to Kelso High School on March 2. Members of the HSSAC Committee took a special trip to Kelso, Washington to tour their high school, as an example of a 5-period trimester (3x5) schedule. Kelso High School has been using this schedule model for the past two years.Committee visit to Mercer Island High School on March 1. Members of the HSSAC Committee took a special trip to Mercer Island to tour their high school, as an example of a 7-period day with modified block schedule. Mercer Island High School has been using this schedule format for the past 17 years.Committee visit to Federal Way High School on February 17. Members of the HSSAC Committee took a special trip to Federal Way to tour their high school, as an example of a 4x8 block schedule with alternating days. Federal Way High School has been using this schedule model for the past two years.HSSAC Committee Meeting on February 16. There was a brief summary of the professional development plan and advisory phase-in model discussed at the previous committee meeting. The majority of the meeting, however, was spent reviewing actual sample daily schedules of what a Mount Si day might look like in a 5 period trimester (3x5) schedule, a 7 period day with modified block schedule, and a 4x8 block schedule with alternating days -- and comparing the weekly contact time of each option. Of particular interest was where lunch periods might fall, how each schedule might look on an early release Friday, and how the shortened Friday school day might impact the length of class periods.
HSSAC Committee Meeting on February 2, 2017. Committee members reviewed the feedback from the January 5 HSSAC meeting and debriefed input from the January 6 Mount Si High School staff meeting. Executive Director of Secondary Education Ruth Moen provided a draft of a possible professional development timeline and plan for implementing a new bell schedule. Mount Si High School Counselor Rachel Raff provided a brief update on how the counselors are currently meeting the requirements of the High School and Beyond Plan for students and the need for a regular “advisory” time in the schedule. A draft “phase in” plan for 2017-18 and beyond (which would ultimately lead to a weekly advisory period) was shared with the committee, along with an update to the timeline. In addition, a draft evaluation rubric was presented; This is being developed to help the committee identify the preferred schedule option, at some point in the future.
Mount Si High School Staff Meeting on Friday, January 6. The HSSAC provided an update to the entire staff on recent work of the committee. The update included a review of the decision-making timeline; sharing of feedback from the previous staff, student, and parent meetings; and a recap of the schedule options still under consideration. Mount Si staff then engaged in an activity to help them gain a deeper understanding of possible changes in the instructional delivery model when teaching in longer class periods and with fewer minutes per course credit.
HSSAC Committee Meeting on January 5, 2017. Assistant Superintendent of Finance & Operations Ryan Stokes presented a preliminary estimate of annual incremental certificated staff costs for each of the three schedules still under consideration: 5 period day with trimesters (3x5), 4 x 8 block schedule with alternating days, and 7 period day with modified block schedule. The committee also worked in small groups to review sample student schedules in each of the three schedule options. Committee members were asked to review the schedule options through the lens of a student and consider criteria that included:
- Balance academic needs with academic exploration (credit recovery, AP, electives, music, career interests, etc.)
- Impact on student workload
- Continuity of courses and ability to fulfill course outcomes and requirements
- Consistent instructional time
- Impact of absenteeism
School Board HSSAC Report (#2) on December 8. The committee updated the School Board at their regular meeting in December, reviewing progress to date and future activities planned. See the following presentation for details:
HSSAC Committee Meeting on December 1. After reviewing feedback received from staff, parents and students, the High School Schedule Study Advisory Committee came to consensus during this meeting to eliminate two schedule options from further consideration: the traditional 7 period day and the 4 x 4 block - alternating at semester. The three remaining options that the committee will continue to focus on include:
HS Scheduling Parent Information Meeting on November 30. Parents and community members were invited to learn about the work of the High School Schedule Advisory Committee to date. After a presentation overview, attendees broke into small groups to discuss the five options under consideration, with the opportunity to ask questions, share their personal experience when relevant, and provide feedback that the committee will consider at a future meeting date. Resources provided include:HSSAC Committee Meeting on November 17. The committee reviewed feedback from the student focus groups (11/14) and from the MSHS staff meeting (11/4). The group also shared thoughts resulting from the visiting principals (10/27), in addition to planning for the upcoming November 30 Parent Informational Meeting.High School Scheduling Update webpages were added to the District website November 17. Additional resources and regular updates will be provided for the remainder of the process, to help inform the community on the HSSAC's progress.District headline: High School Schedule Advisory Work & Parent Meeting. This communication was posted on the website November 14 and sent to all parents via District E-News. It introduces of the work of the HSSAC committee, and invites parents and community members to attend a Parent Information Meeting on November 30, at 6:30 p.m. in the Mount Si High School library. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about schedule options being considered, ask questions and provide feedback.Student Focus Groups were conducted Monday morning, November 14, 2016, involving approximately 55 Mount Si High School students. HSSAC facilitators explained why a schedule change is needed, shared the process underway to explore a variety of options, and described the seven different options being discussed by the committee. They then broke into several smaller groups for in-depth discussions on the pros and cons of each option. Their feedback will be shared with the committee at their next meeting. Resources from the focus groups included:
- 7 period day with modified block schedule
- 4 x 8 block schedule with alternating days
- 5 period day with trimesters (3 x 5)
Mount Si High School Staff Meeting on November 4 involved a two-hour work session during the early release Friday. HSSAC facilitators reviewed for staff the changes in graduation requirements that pertain to different classes, and provided an update on the process to date. Examples of each option were provided, as well as a comparison sheet that explores various data elements (length of periods, hours of instruction per credit, etc.) to highlight the differences between the options. Several staff who have taught in other districts and who have first-hand experience teaching with other schedules, shared their insights. Staff members were divided into 15 small groups to further discuss the options and provide feedback on each scenario. This feedback will be shared with the committee. Resources from the MSHS staff meeting included:
Photos from the November 4 MSHS Staff work session.HSSAC Committee meeting on November 3. During this meeting, the committee prepared for the HS staff meeting for the following day. They created the staff feedback and designated table discussion facilitators for the upcoming meeting.School Board Meeting Presentation: High School Schedule Advisory Committee Update on October 27. Assistant Superintendent Jeff Hogan presented an overview of the work that began last spring. This included the committee composition, timeline of meeting and activities, complexities involved in comparing the options, upcoming steps planned, and the goal to present a recommendation to the superintendent this winter. Resources from the School Board meeting:
- MSHS Staff Presentation 11-4-16
- Daily Schedule Change FAQ (draft as of 10-13-16)
- Daily Schedule Comparison
HSSAC Committee meeting on October 27. Special guest principals from three other high schools presented on the schedule their schools uses, and answered questions from the committee.
March - October 2016...the HSSAC Committee met four times during the 2015-16 school year, and reconvened this fall. At the end of the school year, the committee presented an update on their initial research to all Mount Si High School staff. Here are some resources used by the group in their High School Schedule exploration:
- Kelso High School Principal John Gummel discussed the 5 Period Trimester (3x5) Schedule.
- Sammamish High School Principal Scott Power discussed the 7 Period Modified Block Schedule.
- Federal Way High School Principal Dr. Oberst and Assistant Principal Randy Long discussed the 8 Period Alternating Block (4x8) Schedule.