Student-Centered Scheduling

Vol. 9 No. 10


Does your schedule accomplish what you want it to? In the 21st century, your schedule is an important strategic document. It will determine whether some or all of your students will succeed or not; it will either cost or save you money; it will make your teachers better at what they do or get in their way; it says whether you are an adult or a student-centered school.

Your schedule is how you deliver your mission excellently (or not). When it is adult centered, you mold your schedule to the needs of the teachers and administration … and make the students conform. Not exactly the best way to deliver your mission.

Here are some symptoms of a schedule that is not serving your students as well as it should.

  • You include some special areas of study that are attractive to students, yet these courses are very limited because of schedule conflicts
  • Students are over programmed, trying to jam in required courses that they need but are not readily available.
  • Lunch may be an option instead of a given, and clubs, breaks, and even advisory are expendable.
  • Your schedule is driven by a single course, or a single department.
  • Classes are being held in inappropriate spaces, or you are not maximizing your space.
  • Your faculty culture is more territorial than collaborative.

In the 21st century, the focus is on individualized instruction and the integration of new technologies that students regularly use. Schools are experimenting with smartphones as learning tools—rather than banning them from the classroom. The smart tablet, like the iPad, is becoming a regular fixture. Learning methods are flexible. And your schedule must become strategic. A strategic schedule maintains flexibility for students—and your faculty culture needs to reflect that.

You can take back your schedule! Incorporate the needs of the 21st century student, and put your students at the heart of it all. Here are a few steps.

  • Guarantee every student a lunch break, which reduces stress on everyone.
  • Focus on moving your faculty culture toward collaboration and the needs of the student, not the needs of the adults.
  • Make sure parents understand the hazards of overscheduling—and overstressing—their children.
  • Develop and clearly outline a policy of how many and the types of courses students may take at the same time.

Additional ISM resources of interest
ISM Monthly Update for Division Heads Vol. 9 No. 9 Scheduling and the 21st Century
ISM Recorded Webinar Exams in the 21st Century: To Have or Not to Have
ISM Recorded Webinar Educating the 21st Century Students: What Do They Really Need to Know and How Do We Teach Them?

Additional resources for ISM Consortium Gold Members
Ideas & Perspectives Vol. 35 No. 6 The 21st Century School: Students and Individualized Instruction
Ideas & Perspectives Vol. 35 No. 15 The 21st Century School: Strategic Schedule Review
Ideas & Perspectives Vol. 36 No. 4 ISM Success Predictor No. 4: Highly Specific Course/Professional Development Faculty Contracts

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