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Posts: 122
Reply with quote  #1 

Chapter 10, page 211
"The Master Schedule Must Allocate Time for Supplemental and Intensive Interventions"

Name one reason some schools avoid changing their master schedules? Have you noticed this on your campus (or a campus you've previously visited)?
If yes, please describe.
If no, please describe how your campus has adjusted it's master schedule to allocate time for supplemental intervention.

Maggie Susong
ATPE Member Engagement Coordinator

Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #2 
Name one reason some schools avoid changing their master schedules? Have you noticed this on your campus (or a campus you've previously visited)?
If yes, please describe.
If no, please describe how your campus has adjusted it's master schedule to allocate time for supplemental intervention.

One reason some school avoid changing master schedules is because of finances.  Our school used to not only have scheduled breaks for kids to be assigned (those failing a class or state assessment) and to volunteer to come in for extra help.  We also had scheduled classes for remediation in core classes to help.  That was before the state budget cut so much funding.  With funding being cut from textbooks and our school having to pay "lower economically challenged schools", we have lost many teachers, core teachers.  Less teachers means rarely any intervention classes AND higher rate of students in the already full classes.  This spirals because now the teachers have to teach more academically diverse students on the curriculum to hopefully help pass the state test so that they will not be at fault if the kids do not pass.  Instead of teaching a kid a little above their level to push them, now it is more middle of the road: get in where you fit in teaching. Our reading specialists, RTI, and even special education has been cut as well.  Ironically, with less interventions, more students are "qualifying" for special ed even if they are not true MR/ID/ED/LD individuals.
On the other hand, we have clubs that provide tutoring.  Students who are doing well can stay after on certain days and help other students in the core subjects and this looks good on the resume and provide support.  But most do not take advantage of it... Not only does the nation not look beneficially toward education, but parents also. Many parents will pay extra to have their kids go to a sports camp.  They will allow their kids to stay late after school to work in the weight room, come early Saturday morning to watch film, but not bring them for free tutoring.  This apathy spreads from parent to kids. Although I believe the school should provide "a highly effective, systemic intervention process" and but the "collective responsibility" MUST not rest solely with the education system.  Being legal parents does not mean being actual parents.  Those parents who believe in a higher education and work with their kids rarely have academic issues. Those parents that believe they can drop the kid off here, and there, and everywhere without any type of foundation are going to have problems. As our professional athletes works longer hours to perfect their skills, our students also must put in the time to become successful. 

Nanceen Hoskins

Posts: 98
Reply with quote  #3 
At my daughters' school, they have tutoring for kids who don't do well on benchmarks before the school day starts. By offering it before school, the teachers still have the entire day to teach the rest of the curriculum. If it were done during normal school hours, the kids who need extra help would be missing out on what the rest of the class is doing and possibly be even further behind. The school does have one intervention teacher that pulls some kids for small groups. I'm not sure how they schedule that time into the master schedule though (I was in special Ed at the school when I was working there, so I was not involved in that aspect of the school).

Posts: 43
Reply with quote  #4 
We are an elementary school so we are a little more flexible in changing the master schedule for our campus. We worked in an RTI time so everyone can work together as needed. We reevaluate that schedule every year. I think some schools don't change the master schedule for fear of rocking the boat.
S. Braddock

Posts: 26
Reply with quote  #5 


 One reason at my school that we really try to avoid changing our schedules is because of our special education population.  If I change when I am going to do math, my student may not get the service he/she needs for math because I am doing science.  If the special education teacher takes him for a small group he then misses my science lesson and then doesn't get support for math.  With all that being said, in May we look at our schedules, including the upcoming kids and their needs, and submit our "perfect schedule" to the administration to review and see what changes can be made.  We include in our schedule 30 minutes of intervention time.  This is a good time for kids who need extra help and for enrichment for the students that can handle more independent work.  I offer before school "Book Club" that kids get invited to to work on reading skills.  They get a special card from me that they can use as a pass.  We do different stories than what we do in class, but work on the same skills or the skills that the group needs.  


Posts: 32
Reply with quote  #6 
In my current school district, where the vast majority of students are on "free lunch" and over half are ESL, teachers are over burdened as it is.  Class sizes are larger than they should be. Experienced teachers in my area often leave for "better" school districts where teaching higher level students is a breeze, comparatively.  Administration must concern themselves with keeping those teachers who are willing to stay as satisfied as possible.  'Rocking the boat" by requiring teachers to rethink how they teach, with whom they teach, how they organize their day to fit with a new master schedule is out of the question.  If the budget in our state would increase to the point where teacher's have manageable class sizes and manageable schedules, this change could become a possibility.

Having said that, in this school district many teachers informally confer with each other in making plans to help students who are falling behind.  It is not uncommon for individual teacher's to give up their own personal time before school, during lunch, after school and even weekends to help faltering students.  The blame lies with a public, and therefore a legislature, who are more concerned with athletes than with scholars.  

Rita Wilcox

Posts: 61
Reply with quote  #7 

This is the same concept as classroom management.  If you teach the required behavior right from the start on the first day of school, your students will know the expectations.  If you allow them to slide, it will be much more difficult to try to stop inappropriate behaviors and then reteach proper behaviors.  In my case, there is only one person preparing schedules for 400+ students, and those schedules and students change weekly.  Also, there are no extra instructors available, so it becomes a financial issue. Since we get new students every week, and other students complete the program every week, it is a self-paced program.  Our students also come in at different levels of knowledge and ability.  If a student is struggling, I’m able to help immediately, as long as the student is willing to learn. That is where there is a need for counselors and other staff to intervene before the student reaches Tier 2 or 3.  Due to limited staff in those areas, these interventions are not always timely.  Which brings us back to the financial issue of a need for more staff. 


Posts: 57
Reply with quote  #8 
I think a reason school's refuse to change their master schedules is because they feel there is too much to cover and not enough time, maybe they don't want to take up anymore teacher and student time.

I haven't notice this on my current campus. We have SMART time blocked into each grade level at some point in the day and student's get pulled for RTI if they qualify for it. When I worked at high school level we gave up 1 conference period (we got 2) for STAAR intervention

Posts: 44
Reply with quote  #9 
The costs and finances are two reasons for the avoidance of changing the master schedule. On our campus, the last period study hall was used as a pullout for those needed intervention help. Those students would go to the core teacher at that time. Then, they started pulling students from the elective classes to go to the care teacher. Lastly, a reading interventionist teacher was hired to come and teach a couple of classes each day.

Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #10 
Not sure why some schools avoid change, I guess time constraints. At many of my past campuses, interventions are left up for teacher to figure out. We are constantly adding stuff to our schedule, and whole school interventions aren't one of them.
Some campuses extend the day, but that feels like a punishment of sorts and not all kids can attend. It has to be scheduled into the day.


Posts: 83
Reply with quote  #11 
I haven't seen much change in our overall campus schedule.  Having enough staff to supervise all students at all times (and not enough budget to hire more people) and ensuring lunch and conference periods for teachers top the list of reasons 'why' the schedule hasn't changed.   This year is bringing new administration and later dismissal times, so I am curious to see what changes occur. 

Posts: 16
Reply with quote  #12 
Mega lunch

Finances and the increased scope of what teachers are expected to teach.  Budget cuts have resulted in lower salaries and increased class sizes and responsibilities for the teachers at my school.  We already teach 7 classes a day, with the school day from 7:20 to 4:00 and class sizes are growing.

One question is always, "What do we do with the students who are NOT pulled in for intervention?" If we give them free time (study hall or longer lunch), then the students pulled in for intervention feel they are being punished and become resistant to help.

Three  years ago, my school went to having a "mega-lunch". There is one lunch period and it is an hour long.  Students are expected to spend 30 minutes eating lunch (either in the cafeteria or in a teacher's classroom) and then 30 minutes either attending club meetings, making up work, or receiving tutoring.  For many students this has worked wonderfully. This last year as new freshman came in, they had the attitude that the entire hour was their lunch period and I had several who couldn't come in before school or after school due to transportation or athletic issues, and refused to come in during their "lunch" either to make up missing work, or to attend mandatory Staar tutorials. Mega-lunch is a GREAT concept for those students who used it properly. 

Teaching French is a very low pressure elective, so I try to be as accommodating as possible when students are pulled out of my class for remediation.  However, as some point, how do I assign a grade when a student has missed my class for the entire six weeks?

We are also undergoing a huge administrative change this year- I am afraid we are going to do away with mega-lunch.  This means the students who were making use of their time will lose that opportunity.

Karen Tymniak
   "On ne voit bien qu'avec le coeur."

   "One only sees well with the heart."
        Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #13 
I think some schools avoid changing their master schedules due to having an already packed daily schedule and fear of how staff, parents, and the community may react.  Also, I think if some schedules are changed to better meet the needs of a few who need more intervention, it throws off everyone else's schedule and some staff have multiple job assignments.  If schedules are rearranged, they may fear the students will miss out on other important lessons or social interactions, for there is so much the state requires.  Most schools already build in intervention time in the daily schedules and allow time before or after school for tutoring.  I don't recall the master schedule changing too much during my 10 years of teaching.  We did try to incorporate flex days one year, which were days that students who needed additional assistance were required to attend while the other students got the days off of school.  It didn't go over well with parents.

On page 213, it states that "for interventions to work best, they must be offered during a time when teachers are paid to be there and students are required to be there."  So, that honestly doesn't leave much choice unless schools do away with the regular consistent day-to-day schedule. 

My campus had self contained classrooms, so the individual teacher could adjust his schedule accordingly.  Schedules were usually created around speech, RTI, PE, lunch, and music times that were set by other staff members.  Most teachers tried to add times to work with small groups or individual students. 

Posts: 89
Reply with quote  #14 

“Ultimately, for interventions to work best, they must be offered during a time when teachers are paid to be there and students are required to be there.”  DuFour states “the most common reason for why most schools don’t revise their master schedule is because key adults in the building don’t want to change it.”  I can see this being true for local schools because it may seem radical.  I haven’t taught since 2009, and only at the secondary level.  Changing the master schedule at the upper level seems less flexible than at the elementary level.  However, DuFour makes a great point when he states schools change their schedules often throughout the year for extra-curricular activities or testing.  So true! Why not change it to include times for supplemental and intensive intervention? I think completely changing the way we think of our school day and school year are the only way we are going to affect true change in our current school system and close the achievement gap.  The points DuFour repeatedly make throughout his book are honestly the only ones I have ever come across that actually address closing the achievement gap in a realistic, plausible way.  I volunteer often at my children’s elementary school, and I see interventions occurring during guided/independent reading activities (a reading specialist pulls out at-risk students).  I’ve seen how successful the intervention has been for specific students. 


Posts: 42
Reply with quote  #15 
Name one reason some schools avoid changing their master schedules? Have you noticed this on your campus (or a campus you've previously visited)?
If yes, please describe. 
If no, please describe how your campus has adjusted it's master schedule to allocate time for supplemental intervention.

Schools avoid changing master schedules because it is TOUGH!  This was my 18th year of teaching and for the first time I got to participate in a schedule change for our school this year.  Because of the flooding in Houston, our schools were forced to add 15 minutes to each school day for the rest of the year (to make up one of the days).  I'm a math teacher - I thought doing something like this would be easy.  But it's not!  Working around lunch schedules is tricky.  (You never want to mess with lunch - all kinds of people are involved in that - not to mention hungry students.) There are passing periods that go on in the secondary system - but only between some classes.  Classes going on during different parts of the day.  So many questions that need addressed - some schools still go on A/B rotation schedules.  Some academic courses feel their courses should be longer than others.  And, most of all, so many of us are uncomfortable with change and trying new things.

Jennifer Goedken
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