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Why a Common Schedule?

Middle School Common Schedule: Principals’ Rationale

Eugene School District 4J middle school principals would like to implement a common schedule at all middle schools to improve efficiency, increase equity and provide unity.

The principals believe that improving instruction in the classroom is the most important factor for increasing student achievement. The daily schedule is one of the tools of instruction that can lead to increased student learning. The principals believe that increasing achievement for all and decreasing the achievement gap will be more likely in a unified system with full focus on one system for improvement.

Student Learning

  • A common schedule establishes set times for instruction, planning, and collaboration with colleagues, both within a school and across the district. Predictable times set aside for collaboration across grade levels and within content areas will improve instruction and student learning.
  • A common schedule ensures that students across the district receive an equitable number of instructional minutes.
  • A common schedule and class periods of the same length across the district increase the likelihood of aligned and common curriculum and assessments.
  • A common schedule prevents disruptions and gaps in student learning for those transferring from one school to another, some of whom are our most vulnerable learners.
  • A common schedule and class periods of the same length increase the likelihood of successful and systemic interventions for students needing additional support.

Operations and Management

  • A common schedule reduces challenges for staff shared across buildings, guest teachers, and itinerant staff.
  • A common schedule results in FTE being calculated the same way in all middle schools, thereby minimizing challenges to central office and building staff.
  • A common schedule equalizes time across buildings and eliminates inequities in teacher preparation, planning, and collaboration time.
  • A common schedule increases efficiencies and reduces costs in district operations departments (Human Resources, Computing Information Services, Finance, Facilities and Transportation).
  • A common schedule provides opportunities to standardize procedures, thereby reducing costs.

Community and Parents

  • A common schedule provides a clear picture to parents and community members about what a middle school day should look like in this district and what they can expect to be provided to students, thereby minimizing perceived inequities among schools.
  • A common schedule results in standardized and predictable communications from schools and the district, such as those reporting student progress to parents.

Today we expect that all 4J students will graduate from high school prepared to be successful in colleges and careers. At present, more than a quarter of our high school students do not graduate from our high schools within four years. For instructional, operational, and financial reasons, the middle school principals believe it is time for Eugene School District 4J to create a common schedule in our middle schools.