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Posts: 18
Reply with quote  #16 
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.

My Response:
Our district is very data driven, including our campus---even more so as its a Title I and PEG school.  I am sue that finances are and issue which at times we have to do more with less is more and by this I mean staff.  We have several initiatives that help the students through out the day as well as afters school.  

AVID--Advancement Via Individual Determination:  This program we have had sin the mid 2000s and it has been very beneficial to our district  and campus as it has helped out our At- Risk, bubble and high achievers reach their goal of graduating and attending college.  Students are able to learn academic skills that will help them be successful in their classes.  This program motivates students by having them research Universities, careers and teaches them to give back to the community through service.  The students that participate within the AVID Program have gone on to be in Student Council and National 
Junior Honor Society. The students, 7th and 8th graders have a designated AVID class period and have appointed tutors from the community or the university that work with our students through out the week.

TLI-- Texas Literacy Initiative:  Our campus has been a TLI campus working hard with our districts English Language Arts and SIOP strategists to prepare and provide tutors that will work with our students who are 504, ELL, and of low academic performance and ( RTIed students who are on an IEP and BIP).  This is an inclusion program as the tutors sit in to work with the students.  

CIS-- Communities in Schools they service our students assisting our counselors on emotional matters, academic matters, and meeting the needs of the student so that they well prepared for school.  They work in conjunction with our Parental involvement and PTA/PTO groups to keep our parents abreast of any on going changes in Education that can affect their children.  Normally students will be pulled out during electives as to not disrupt the core class environment.  It does take some one strong to be in this position because the CIS case worker needs to ensure that students understand they are a vital service and while they are their for them...student are not to treat the service as a " get out of ___class pass"

Migrant Program: The migrant program is small on our district and focuses on the students who's parents work primarily agriculturally.  Normally these students withdraw late in Spring and enroll late in Fall.  There are 3 verticle teams ( Elem. through High School).  In the last year they have started to bring in tutors that will cater to their population assissting them with school work and have recently tied in to local cultural events that strengthen the students self esteem and perception of their culture.

Interventions within the core content areas occur within our campus as well.  Teachers are expected to provide after school tutoring.  Use the enrichment period within the school day appropriately based on the day of the week and content area that is to be covered.  ( A drawback to this "enrichment period is that every teacher must find something to do or cover based on the TEKS.  The lessons are not provided by the Dept. heads. and if a teacher is not ready...then its a "gotcha"  Students and elective teachers think that they can pull the students out of enrichment...when its supposed to be and academic enrichment period for All.  Pull out sessions happen at this time as well.  If we were to use the "enrichment" period appropriately which is one of the many reasons our school day was extended. Middle school gets out at 4:05 p.m. then there is no need for after school tutoring.  That was the main reason...the enrichment period by which every student on our district does not get a grade scoring for the class was supposed to be tutoring during the day to support our students.   ( And then people wonder why teachers are overworked...or quit early in the profession...just one of the many reasons.)  As educators we do participate in specific tutoring that are geared towards the STAAR that we call Friday Night Lights ( 4-6 p.m.)or Saturday Morning Tutoring( 8:00 to 12: 00 p.m.) in which our students  go through one or two rotations that are TEK specific and student population specific based on the STAAR color band and the students STAAR scoring. Yes breakfast and lunch is provided to the students or a snack and dinner.  

Over all  I am glad that there are interventions in place to help our students succeed, yet I wish our administrators would be more appreciative of their staff. Showing some "love" and a thank you speaks volumes in administrative action to the staff.  I have been through 2 administrations at my campus and am starting my 3rd set of principals... the first administration was very A vs T. and created a hostile environment. They ordered and stacked up other priorities on top of the ones the office clerks had to do.  It was this is "my" position and " this is yours." There was no trust.  The second administration was one that sought to build and strengthen capacity in teachers.  Admin. worked along side with the teachers to create effective strategies.  Admin. were caring and made their own copies, picked up litter around campus.  It demonstrated love to our campus.  Half way through this past year there were some changes district wide and have come to meet the 3rd administration...yes I am trying to stay positive despite the fact that we have lost several great teachers on campus and some of the decisions in employee staff changes may not have been the best ones.  Especially if the idea is to have better results.  I hope it works but we will see.

Ms. D. Palomo

" Share your heritage with a passion."

Posts: 63
Reply with quote  #17 

Time Constraints and finances are two reasons I could see for why some schools avoid changing their master schedules.  Another big one is fear of change.  At one school I substituted at, I helped one teacher put together a new schedule for interventions. She told me new schedules were usually made to accommodate for more students who needed the help or new students coming into the school. I do know some of these students were pulled during lesson time. At another school they had intervention early in the morning before school and after school for about an hour. Another school hired me to tutor students who were low in math and reading. I worked with the teachers to figure out the best schedule.     


Posts: 94
Reply with quote  #18 

One reason some schools may avoid changing master schedules:  The specialists are serving the entire student population at their school.  Once they find a schedule that mostly fits, it’s likely they would be reluctant to change it.  Other factors:  Room availability, teacher schedule, math and reading specialist schedule, specials schedule (music, PE computer lab, science lab). 

Supplemental intervention

The school I tutor at works to give each student what they need, be it intense intervention or additional support as needed via leveled small groups and/or tutoring.  Math and reading specialist work with the classroom teachers to schedule (previously identified) students at an appropriate time that is most beneficial to the student’s learning.   The SPED teacher comes into the classroom to work with students who are needing more learning assistance.  The SPED teacher also pulls out students based on student IEP.

Tutoring is scheduled during the teacher’s small group times.  During the Daily Five ELA rotations, I tutor Tier 1 & Tier 2 students on specific skills.    The same holds true for math.

I noticed that classroom teachers pull students based on like standards that a particular group is struggling to learn.  Teachers also pull students one on one to work with. 

At the elementary level:   A three week period prior to STAAR testing also warrants a change in master schedule.  Each student is getting what they need based on their level (Tier 1, 2 or 3).  Students who need more intense remediation go with the specialists (math, reading, special education).  The classroom teacher works with Tier 2.  I pulled the Tier 1 (higher kids) for math and reading.

This school strives to meet the needs of each student.



Posts: 15
Reply with quote  #19 
At my school we actually had time built into the schedule for several years, but that time ended up being a play time for most students and a headache for teachers because there was no strategy in place for how to use the time wisely, so teachers were babysitting. We ended up going to two days of what we call Flex Time, based solely on teacher complaints, which allows teachers to tutor, collect make up work, a place for students to work on projects, etc.
Flex Time works well but will not meet the needs of regular tutoring in order to provide students the opportunity to learn material with which they are having problems. Now I have to figure out how to get our principal to return to every day tutoring time. My current plan is to start with my grade level ELAR team and go from there. If we can successfully figure out how to provide opportunities for remediation without early morning/stay late days and show success, I feel we can pass it on to our whole team and then the school.

Posts: 37
Reply with quote  #20 
One reason schools avoid changes to their master schedule is because one seemingly small change can have a huge ripple effect causing lots of big changes that aren't easy to figure out.

My department that I'm currently teaching in at the college is changing two things: the textbook, and we will be testing during class time rather than students going to the testing center on their own time. Seems like it should be no big deal but it's huge. It's like fixing one thing causes 5 things to break. Then you have to fix those 5 things while trying not to break anything else.

I'm so thankful that the department chair has chosen to hold optional meetings to keep us informed on the process and get our input so we aren't shocked at all the changes that are taking place once the fall semester begins. Not only do I feel like our input is valuable, but I have a great appreciation for the hard work that the department chair and a few others are putting into this complex process. I'm certainly thankful that I don't have to put the puzzle pieces together myself.

Posts: 95
Reply with quote  #21 
Master schedules are tricky, especially in high school.  There are so many activities going on all the time.  Many courses are offered only one period a day and that further complicates things.  One way interventions are offered is before or after school.  They are called Mustang Apps and students can come for extra help with a teacher that has agreed to be available for each type of content on a specific day of the week.  Teachers are paid a little extra for making themselves available.  Students may sign up for a late bus that will take them home if they stay for help.  Individual teachers also offer tutorials on a schedule they make known to students.  These are offered before or after school.

Posts: 13
Reply with quote  #22 

One reason some schools avoid changing their master schedules is due to the temporary discomfort/disruption of the teaching staff.  People do not like change and will fight to maintain the Status Quo.  This is a very selfish, uncaring, and childish response to a critical need within the school.

I have noticed this on my campus when the students who failed the state tests for Math and English were pulled out of regular instruction (either half a day or a whole day) to receive remediation for the retest.  Remediation teachers did their best to teach the students, and there was some success.  However, the other teachers were upset about not being in their own classrooms, and not being able to teach the remediation students the core material needed for the upcoming state tests in Social Studies and Science.   Remediation students did not receive instruction for 3 weeks in Social Studies and Science prior to the state test.  My own French students missed 3 weeks of French instruction, and they had to take the district Final Exam over material that they did not get to cover.  Although an attempt was made for intensive intervention, the mood of the teachers was apathetic, and even disgruntled.

On the other hand, our campus has an adjusted master schedule to allocate time for supplemental intervention.  This occurs during the 1st period of the day (Middle School campus), and is used as an intervention period for those needing it, or as an enrichment period for the others.  Currently, there is not much direction given to teachers for effective use of this time.  There is even some discussion about eliminating this 1st period.  I believe that proper guidance and direction to the teachers would be the best benefit for our students.


Posts: 38
Reply with quote  #23 
The most common reason that schools don't change their master schedules is because key adults in the building don't want to change it.  I've noticed that most schools use the pullout system.  Staff comes in and pull out students that need remediation during the school day.  These students then miss out on the days lesson.  This book says that often the staff are sometimes unqualified for teaching students the knowledge and skills required to demonstrate the mastery intended.

Posts: 27
Reply with quote  #24 
Some schools are cautious of changing the master schedule because it is possible that the change will come at a cost and be unsuccessful. Schools will have to pay educators to be there and hope students show up. Forcing students to leave lunch early or not attend their elective courses for supplemental instruction can be deemed as punishment and a lot of campuses try to refrain from this type of change to the master schedule.
On the last campus I was employed we offered supplemental instruction through one core teacher. The class would be held for two class periods resulting in 90 minutes of instruction time. This was for struggling students not as a punishment but as a "service" to them in which they understood.

Posts: 42
Reply with quote  #25 
I believe that schools have a difficult time changing master schedules because it often conflicts with other activities.  If students who need extra one on one help then they are most likely going to miss out on something else.  If they leave their classroom to get the help then they will miss what is being taught during that time.  I have experienced that offering additional help often works better before school.   This allows the student to still get the full time in their classroom and be involved in any after school activities that they choose to be in.  

Posts: 70
Reply with quote  #26 
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.

There are multiple reasons why schools avoid changing their master schedules.  Here's one: parents.  At my daughter's school, the school has recently announced that the middle school schedule will be changing.  (My daughter will be in 3rd grade so it doesn't affect her academically).  It will be more of a block-type schedule, with will allow for more in-depth teaching/learning and provide students with a period of "catch up" instruction if needed, with early (by 1 hour) dismissal on Wednesdays.

This affected the elementary school schedule, so now we have early dismissal on Wednesdays instead of Tuesdays.  The dismissal times for K-5 will now no longer be the same as the 6-8 dismissal time on Fridays.  Let me tell you, some parents are, shall we say, not happy.  I understand both perspectives.  This decision was "research-based," to help middle school students succeed, but it's a big change from the typical 6-7 periods per day schedule.    

I think that the change will be beneficial to the students, and I like that students will have time for extra help if needed, but I'm curious to see how the teachers will respond to the changes.  I think that they are open to the changes, so in this case it's the parents who are resistant to change.  A small schedule change can be pretty disruptive to families, but I also think in a couple years nobody will remember all the fuss about the change.

Our school does pull students out for additional reading instruction, which is great, but again there's the problem that the students are missing out instruction during that time.  It would be great to have before and after school tutoring, but our school right now doesn't offer that.

Posts: 148
Reply with quote  #27 
My school makes a master schedule around lunches, conferences times, special programs that require pullouts.  I think one of the reasons my school balks at changing the master schedules involves the above reasons along with being able to plan their observations and walkthroughs.  If everyone is teaching the same thing at the same time, it makes it easier to compare how teachers are following directives and implementing directives

Posts: 67
Reply with quote  #28 

Schools avoid changing their master schedules for many reasons, including time constraints and personnel constraints.  It’s been several years since I was in a classroom, so it’s a little hard to remember.  I taught in a self-contained kindergarten class.  I don’t recall anything in the master schedule that had anything to do with intervention.  I did have some students pulled out of my room, but I don’t recall having any say over when that would be or how long they would be gone or what they would work on (or even who they were pulling).  Because of that, students missed new instruction and I had no way of knowing whether or not their intervention work even addressed anything they were struggling with in class.  The only “intervention” that I had any say in was what I did myself.  While the students were working in math centers or language arts centers, I could pull them back to my table for one on one or small group instruction and remediation.  


Posts: 14
Reply with quote  #29 

“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” (pg 214). People tend to be creatures of habit. By changing a system that has been used for years is time-consuming and huge change. It’s no surprise that key adults such as administration and even teachers themselves would be hesitant to change the master schedule. Almost everything in the school would have to be rearranged, and it would be a humongous thing to organize. Many schools are so used to changing the schedule for pep rallies, testing, and events that to them it doesn’t feel like too much of a disturbance. But change their master schedule, then they won’t know what to do.

The campus I have been hired at is/has been working on changing their master schedule during the summer. When I interviewed, I was told that Language Arts would go from being a single period to being a block class - two periods - for all grade levels. This could be due to their low Reading and Writing test scores, and other factors. This may not be totally what DuFour is referencing to in his book, but it’s a big deal to switch a class from a single period to a double period. It will be interesting to see how the school is affected by this change. When I asked back in March, they didn’t have an answer for me. I’m sure I’ll find out shortly. While it helps students struggling in Language Arts, I don’t see it giving students supplemental time for other subjects. They may just have to get it during their Advisory period.



Posts: 22
Reply with quote  #30 
One reason that schools avoid changing their master schedule is time - there is not enough time in the day to teach everything we need to teach and add in intensive interventions.  Time and staffing is definitely an issue.  It is difficult to fit the on-level instruction into the school day, let alone pull the Tier 3 students for interventions.  Without reading specialists, dyslexia specialists, SpEd teachers/aides and other support positions, Tier 3 students often don't get all the help they need.
Chellie Nelson
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