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Workshops on Innovation in Elementary, Middle and High School Scheduling and Services Related to School Scheduling

The construction of the quality school schedule is essential leadership task. Dr. Michael D. Rettig has 30+ years of experience working with more than 1000 elementary, middle, and high schools in 43 states and internationally in Bermuda, Canada, Dubai, Germany, Japan, The Netherlands, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. Dr. Rettig provides workshops for administrators and teachers on school scheduling topics, in addition to consulting with school districts and individual school regarding the selection and construction of the most appropriate schedule given the district and school context. These workshops and consultations are described below. All sessions can be customized to meet individual school and district needs.

Workshop 1: Designing Quality Elementary School Schedules: Major Focus on Providing Structured Time for Intervention and Enrichment

The creation of an effective school schedule is a key component of every elementary principal’s work. While many different personnel should be involved in the process, to delegate this responsibility is to abdicate the role of instructional leader. Based upon 30+ years of experience working in schools across the country Michael D. Rettig, Professor Emeritus from James Madison University, and co-author of Elementary School Scheduling: Enhancing Instruction for Student Achievement, will outline problems which have been identified with typical elementary school schedules, relate general principles for effective district and school scheduling, provide a process for creating quality schedules, and share examples and templates. Handouts and a digital scheduling template (in Excel) will be provided.

In addition during this session Dr. Rettig also will share the basics of parallel block scheduling, a model of school time organization that strives to accomplish the following goals:

• reduced-size classes for small group reading and mathematics instruction,
• accelerated literacy acquisition in kindergarten and first grade classrooms,
• support services such as special education, ESL, talented and gifted which are integrated with the regular school program,
• efficient and equitable related arts schedules and common planning time for grade level teachers,
• options for scheduling and organizing time for interventions and enrichment activities related to Response to Innovation, and
• options for scheduling instrumental music.

Sample Handout

Workshop 2: Scheduling Strategies for Middle Schools: Major Focus on Structured Time for Intervention and Enrichment

During this session, Michael D. Rettig, Professor Emeritus from James Madison University and co-author of the book Scheduling Strategies for Middle Schools, will demonstrate how scheduling concepts have been adapted to create uniquely different middle school organizational plans. After a discussion of eight key questions that must be answered before creating a middle school schedule, a variety of middle school block schedules will be reviewed, including a middle school version of the 4/4 Semester Plan in use in many schools across the country; a schedule which creates "pure" teams by adding non-traditional core subjects to the interdisciplinary team; schedules which employ a “rotating spin-out period” to provide time for an additional elective or remediation; plans appropriate for two, three, four, five, and six teacher teams.

In addition, Dr. Rettig will address the two most asked questions regarding middle school scheduling: “How can we add more time for mathematics and still maintain significant exploratory and elective opportunities for students?” and “How can we provide time for intervention, re-teaching, and/or enrichment (as required for Response to Innovation) during the school day?” Planning and implementation issues will be addressed. Options for delivering exploratory and elective classes will be included. Examples of schedules and an Excel scheduling template will be provided.

Sample Handout

Workshop 3: Trends and Issue in High School Scheduling: Basic Scheduling Structures Revisited, Options for Intervention and Dropout Prevention Explored

This full-day or half-day session will focus on high school scheduling possibilities. The co-author of Block Scheduling: A Catalyst for Change in High Schools will develop the reasons for changing current schedules, share many different models of scheduling, discuss the pros, cons, and research related to these models, and outline an adoption and implementation process. Time will be spent dealing with a variety of details including designing bell schedules, serving the needs of special populations, evaluating scheduling plans based upon an individual schools mission and goals, etc. Many examples will be developed and shared, although much time is focused on the details of the two most common high school block schedules: the alternate day schedule (also known as A/B or Day 1, Day 2) and the 4X4 schedule (also known as the four-period day and the accelerated schedule). In addition, schedules and policies designed to assist in preventing school dropouts, as well as schedules designed to "Rescue" overage students who have attained few credits will be detailed. There is generally time for questions.

Sample Handout

Workshop 4: Scheduling and Organizing a Data-Driven Intervention/Enrichment Period

In this session the co-author of books on elementary, middle and high school scheduling will demonstrate how to schedule and organize a data-driven Intervention/Enrichment period to provide short-term instructional interventions, longer-term remediation, special services, and enrichment. Options for scheduling the period in elementary, middle and high school schedules will be provided. Significant time will be spent exploring the organization of this period including the following issues: assessment, data analysis, grouping during the period, appropriate interventions and enrichment activities, and progress monitoring. The application of this period to Response to Intervention will be discussed. Handouts and scheduling templates included. This session can be adjusted to focus on just one level of schooling.

Sample Handout


Schedule Decision-Making and Construction

In addition to the presentations mentioned above Dr. Rettig frequently works with individual schools or districts to help them sort through their goals and problems to arrive at the most appropriate form of schedule given their unique contexts. He also works with districts to analyze and improve the assignment of staff shared among several schools, and finally he provides technical assistance to individual schools as they construct the schedule of their choice.

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School Scheduling Associates, LLC | P.O. Box 203 | Crozet, VA 22932 | Phone: (434) 249-3024 | Fax: (434) 823-5782