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High School Schedule: Frequently Asked Questions

Why Change Schedules?

  • Why are we aligning schedules at 4J high schools?
  • Why was the 3×5 trimester schedule selected?

What Is the New Schedule?

  • What is the new schedule?
  • Does every high school have to have exactly the same schedule?
  • Will this make all high schools the same?
  • When will schools change to the new schedule?
  • What is the school calendar for next year?

What Does the Schedule Change Mean for Students?

  • What does the 3×5 schedule mean for my school?
  • Will students gain or lose instructional time?
  • Will the new schedule affect class size or full scheduling for students?
  • How many credits can a student earn per year?
  • Will students be allowed to earn more than 1 credit in a subject area in one year?
  • Will schedule gaps impact student learning?
  • Will courses be offered outside of the five-period school day?
  • Will the new schedule allow students to take full-year elective courses, such as band or choir?
  • How will the International High School schedule work?
  • How will AP and IB classes be affected?
  • Will student schedules be created that cover more than a one-year span?

What Does the Schedule Change Mean for Teachers?

  • Will teachers be given support to adjust to the new schedule?
  • What will teachers’ daily schedules be?
  • Will teachers know their teaching assignments for the entire year at the beginning of the year?
  • Will advisory be affected?

Decision-Making Process: How Did We Get Here?

  • How was the 3×5 trimester schedule decided on?
  • Did teachers have a voice in the decision-making process?

 

Why Change Schedules?

Why are we aligning schedules at 4J high schools?

Aligning high school schedules has benefits for students, teachers and our community. This is one of several ways that the Eugene School District is working to:

1. Increase student achievement and ensure that all students graduate

Achieving a 100% graduation rate requires that we work together to improve instruction across the district.

Aligning schedules across schools will allow teachers and principals to share and build upon exemplary practices and work together to strengthen instruction.

2. Provide equitable learning opportunities for students

Currently, student instruction time varies from school to school. Teacher preparation time and teaching time also varies. Aligning schedules will eliminate these disparities. By aligning our high school schedules:

• Students will have similar amounts of instructional time and similar class options across the district.
• Every student will have an opportunity to earn the same number of credits toward graduation each year.

3. Gain efficiencies

Aligned schedules will save time and money. For example:

• Additional courses can be offered without adding staff. This increases options for students and reduces class size.
• We can have one system for scheduling and progress reports instead of four. Transportation, student records, and staffing will be more efficient.
• Some staff work at multiple schools. It will be easier to share staff when all high schools are on the same schedule.
Why was the 3×5 trimester schedule selected?

The 3×5 schedule was the preferred choice of work group members. The work group decided that this schedule best fit their criteria for depth and rigor, student engagement in learning, scheduling flexibility and sustainability.

There are advantages and disadvantages to any schedule; some advantages of the 3×5 trimester schedule are:

  • Five 70-minute classes each day provide for focus, depth and engagement in each subject.
  • Students requiring more time to learn are able to use all three trimesters to gain credit for a course.
  • Students doing poorly in a course are able to have a fresh start after 12 weeks (1 trimester) instead of 18 or 36 weeks, so they can recover credits during the same school year.
  • Students who learn quickly are able to accelerate in their areas of interest and complete a high school sequence in that discipline, then continue their accelerated learning by enrolling in college-level courses.
  • For high school students taking courses at UO or LCC, the 3×5 schedule aligns well with the higher education calendar.
  • Students can be provided additional instructional time prior to AP and IB exams.
  • 12-week elective courses can be created that are especially interesting and engaging.
  • The schedule is nimble for both students and schools, allowing students to take different classes if their needs or interests change, and allowing schools to adjust course offerings to meet student needs.
  • A four-year plan for a specific pathway of study can be designed and students can be deliberately scheduled across four years.
  • Class sizes can be reduced, thereby allowing for more personalization.
  • Teacher collaboration for the purpose of supporting students could be enhanced because teachers teaching the same subject might share students from one trimester to the next.
  • Additional courses can be offered with the same amount of teacher FTE, which both increases options for students and reduces class size.

What Is the New Schedule?

What is the new schedule?

The new schedule is a 3×5 trimester schedule with five class periods per day.

  • 3 terms with 5 classes per day
  • Each term is 12 weeks long
  • Class periods are 70 minutes long (approx.)
  • Students earn 0.5 credits per class per trimester (1 credit over two trimesters and 1.5 credits over three trimesters)
  • Students earn 7.5 credits per year and 30 credits over four years if fully scheduled


Does every high school have to have exactly the same schedule?

No. Aligning schedules does not require that our high schools have a uniform bell schedule. There may be differences among schools related to variables such as passing time between classes and the time of day that classes start and end. It does mean that all high schools will have the same number of periods each day. The length of a class period and reporting and grading periods will also be the same.


Will this make all high schools the same?

No. Each high school will continue to emphasize different programs, offer some different classes, and retain its own unique style. The schedule change will make learning time and opportunities more equitable across different schools, and allow staff from different schools to collaborate and build upon each other’s work to offer better instruction.


When will schools change to the new schedule?

High schools were allowed to decide whether to convert to the new schedule in either 2012–13 or 2013–14. Churchill was ready to implement the new schedule in September 2012. North Eugene, South Eugene, Sheldon and Eugene IHS will transition to the 3×5 schedule in September 2013.


What is the school calendar for next year?

The school calendar is developed in coordination with key stakeholders, approved by the school board, and published each spring for the following school year. Typically school begins in September and ends in June, with a two-week winter break in late December and a one-week spring break in March. In most years winter and spring break are aligned with the University of Oregon’s schedule. Over time the district intends to align high school calendars more closely with calendars at the University of Oregon and Lane Community College, to provide high school students better access to higher education options.

What Does the Schedule Change Mean for Students?

What does the 3×5 schedule mean for my school?

These one-page documents identify benefits of moving to the 3×5 schedule from a South, Sheldon, Churchill and North student perspective, along with a short list of reasons the district has selected the 3×5 as its high school schedule:

Churchill | North Eugene | Sheldon | South Eugene


Will students gain or lose instructional time?

Fully scheduled students will get the same or more instructional time compared with current schedules.

Schedule Instructional minutes per day
3×5: Five periods, 70 minutes long 350
Seven periods, 50 minutes long 350
Four periods, three 85 minutes and one 90 minutes long 345
Four periods, 83 minutes long 332


Will the new schedule affect class size or full scheduling for students?

Yes. With all other factors held constant, the new schedule would lead to a reduction in class sizes. In practice, the benefits may include reduced class sizes, expanded course offerings, fuller schedules for more students, or a combination of the above. (For example, Churchill was able to increase the percentage of students with full schedules from 19% to 66%.)


How many credits can a student earn per year?

A student can earn up to 7.5 credits per year, and up to 30 credits in four years, during the regular school day.


Will students be allowed to earn more than 1 credit in a subject area in one year?

Yes. Students will earn 0.5 credits for a one-trimester class, 1 credit in two trimesters, and 1.5 credits in three trimesters.

One of the strengths of the 3×5 schedule is its flexibility for acceleration and remediation. Students may take a third term in a subject for a number of reasons:

  • To accelerate their learning
  • To meet four-year college entrance requirements
  • To allow more time for learning
  • To recover credits needed to graduate
  • Some courses’ standard schedules may cover three terms, such as AVID and year-long electives


Will schedule gaps impact student learning?

We do not expect a negative impact on student learning. Schools will work to schedule courses contiguously in some subjects, but in some cases students will take classes in a subject for two trimesters out of the year. Schools in our district and elsewhere have had schedules with gaps between classes and have not found it to be a problem.


Will courses be offered outside of the five-period school day?

Yes, just as there are under schools’ current schedules. In order to facilitate certain courses that are hard to schedule, some classes may be offered during a flexible period before or after school. AP/IB test prep or student study groups also might meet during these times. This provides staffing flexibility while maximizing opportunities for students.


Will the new schedule allow students to take full-year elective courses, such as band or choir?

Yes. High schools will continue to offer some full-year electives.

A note about music and IHS: During the first year of the new schedule at Churchill, some International High School students found that they had a conflict with music electives because the IHS program had not yet changed to the new schedule. That conflict has been resolved and will no longer be an issue in 2013–14 and beyond.
How will AP and IB classes be affected?

The new schedule provides more instructional time for most classes to prepare for the AP (Advanced Placement) and IB (International Baccalaureate) exams.

Some Advanced Placement (AP) classes will be two trimesters and some will be three trimesters. This is determined based on established guidelines and teacher input. Individual schools may in some cases decide to expand a class that is typically two trimesters to become a three-trimester class. Because some International Baccalaureate (IB) courses require spanning both the junior and senior year, some IB courses might be more than three trimesters.

A note about language immersion and IB: Schools have been working diligently to ensure the schedules they are creating will be compatible with language studies, IHS and IB, and that language immersion students will be able to pursue an IB diploma.


How will the International High School schedule work?

International High School students will take IHS classes during periods 1 and 2 or periods 4 and 5 in yearlong rotations. The IHS schedule will fit into the regular school day so there won’t be interruptions or awkward timing.


Will student schedules be created that cover more than a one-year span?

Yes. Students will continue to work with counselors and other school staff to develop a multi-year plan for their high school coursework. Schools are working to develop four-year pathways of learning in different programs of study to help guide individual students’ planning. Schools will use the forecast of what courses students plan to take to inform their decisions about how many sections of courses to offer and when.


What Does the Schedule Change Mean for Teachers?

Will teachers be given support to adjust to the new schedule?

Yes. The district is supporting teachers and counselors by providing planning and professional development time to prepare for the schedule change.

  • Classroom teachers are being provided with 4–5 paid days, depending on their content area, to plan and prepare for the transition to the 3×5 schedule. These days will consist of a combination of extended contract days, release time, and time previously set aside for professional development.
  • Teachers from other 3×5 districts, along with some from Churchill, will be sharing their strategies with interested teachers from Sheldon, South, North and IHS on April 1.
  • Teachers may want to visit a successful 3×5 school. This will be coordinated by the building principal.
  • Jon Saphier will offer an optional workshop during August that addresses the issue of pedagogy in a 3×5 schedule.
  • Administrators and counselors will receive training in how to develop four-year schedules so that all students will graduate college- and career-ready.
  • Extra paid work days to support the transition also have been provided for high school counselors and for staff members who schedule classes for special education students.

Time will be set aside at each school throughout the school year to reflect and adjust to the changes.


What will teachers’ daily schedules be?

Full-time teachers work an 8-hour day. Under the new schedule, each school day will have 5 class periods of 70 minutes each. High school teachers will teach 4 periods and will have 1 prep period per day. Outside of these 5 periods, teachers will be involved in other activities such as teacher collaboration, student and parent access time, planning and grading, and meetings. Existing late start/early release schedules will not change unless a school decides to make a change.

For part-time teachers, the day will be prorated. Teaching assignments will be made based upon student need, which may result in different number of classes taught per trimester.

For traveling teachers, travel and set-up time will continue to be factored into their schedule.


Will teachers know their teaching assignments for the entire year at the beginning of the year?

In most cases, yes. Most teaching assignments will not change during the year. However, as is the case now, some teaching assignments may change in order to be responsive to student needs. Depending upon student achievement data, course offerings may be adjusted to provide opportunities for student remediation and acceleration.


Will advisory be affected?

For 2013–14, each school will make its own decisions about advisory. The district intends to convene a group of teachers, counselors and administrators to explore advisory, considering teacher workload issues and how to best support student outcomes.

Decision-Making Process: How Did We Get Here?

How was the 3×5 trimester schedule decided on?

The conversation about moving toward a consistent high school schedule began among the district’s high school principals. In January 2012, a 32-member work group was convened to review the pros and cons of different schedules and make a recommendation to the superintendent.

The work group included teachers and administrators from every high school as well as from International High School, alternative education and the Eugene Education Association president.

The work group chose 8 criteria to evaluate schedule options:

  1. Meets the needs of each student to be college and career ready
  2. Provides for focus and rigor
  3. Is sustainable and realistic, given our resources
  4. Provides consistency, minimizing gaps in learning
  5. Builds collaboration, providing time for staff to work together to analyze student learning, adjust instruction and curriculum and join together for professional development
  6. Is flexible and engages students
  7. Maximizes the opportunity for students to take classes at other high schools and colleges
  8. Fosters relationships between teachers and students and among students

The group studied different schedule options in detail, considered the strengths and concerns for each schedule, and considered input from two public forums and staff and parent surveys before deciding to recommend the 3×5 schedule to the superintendent.

The superintendent supported the work group’s recommendation. The board approved the change to a 3×5 high school schedule on April 11, 2012.


Did teachers have a voice in the decision-making process?

Yes. While decisions like this don’t entail a staff vote, employees’ experience and opinions are valued in decision-making. Teachers and counselors were an integral part of developing a schedule recommendation, and other staff members’ input was sought and considered by the board.

Teachers, counselors and administrators from every 4J high school, as well as the Eugene Education Association president, comprised the work group that studied high school schedules and recommended the 3×5 trimester schedule.

Before the recommendation was determined, all teachers and licensed professionals were encouraged to provide input via an online survey and a staff forum.