Recommendation Three:

Structure the school/district calendar to allow for meaningful professional development activities embedded throughout the school year.

 

 

Role Group Strategies:

Policymakers
Deregulate instructional time mandates.

“Finding the Time to Build Professional Development into the Life of Schools” 
Teachers Take Charge of Their Learning: Transforming Professional Development for Student Success. 
NEA Foundation for the Improvement of Education (NFIE). (1996).  Washington, DC.
http://www.nfie.org/publications/charge/section2.htm
NFIE gives two primary recommendations for finding time for professional development: flexible scheduling and an extended school year for teachers. In order to create more team teaching opportunities, shared responsibilities, and fewer, longer periods of instruction, states need to deregulate instructional time mandates.

Learning from Denmark
International Studies Program. (2004).
http://ncforum.org/doclib/publications/collateral/denmark.pdf
This report explains the findings of a study of high schools in Denmark.  Within finding nine, “Teachers are treated as professionals,” the authors address teacher time for preparation, meetings, and collaboration and explain how the workload differs for new teachers.  The report includes tables of annual work loads for Danish high school teachers. Danish teachers can come and go as they please (flex time), have less time with students than American teachers, and new teachers do not have a full teaching load for two years.

Policymakers
Advocate for non-traditional school schedules.

Target Time Toward Teachers
Darling-Hammond, Linda. (1999). Journal of Staff Development, 20, (2), p. 31-36.
http://www.nsdc.org/library/publications/jsd/darling202.cfm
The article addresses the importance of teacher time for planning and collaboration to quality teaching. It compares teacher time in the United States to teacher time internationally and provides samples for rethinking schedules from International High School and Central Park East Secondary School in New York City. At International High School, teachers meet for a half-day every week while students are in clubs.

Gustav A. Fritsche Middle School, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
http://www2.milwaukee.k12.wi.us/fritsche/block1.html
This school’s website provides detailed information on their use of block scheduling. It lists observed benefits in terms of school climate, classroom issues, and curriculum, and provides a comparison of time on task under the block schedule and under a traditional schedule. The site also includes a detailed profile of the school’s demographics and a four-year timeline that outlines the process of fully implementing block scheduling at the school. Scheduling grids for each grade during the 2004-2005 school year are also available.

Scheduling Alternatives: Options for Student Success
Fager, Jennifer. (1997). Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory.
http://www.nwrel.org/request/feb97/index.html
This is an online version of a booklet exploring block scheduling, four-day school weeks and year-round school.  For each of the three areas, the authors explain the potential benefits of that system, some concerns, and ideas for successful implementation.  The booklet includes specific examples of schools that have moved to block scheduling, a four year school week, or year round school.  Each example lists contact information, program information, observed outcomes, and keys to success.

School Calendar Choices in Tennessee: A Look at Year-Round / Non-traditional Schools
Morgan, John G. (2003). Office of Education Accountability.
http://www.comptroller.state.tn.us/orea/reports/yrroundschools.pdf
As of March 2003, 147 schools in Tennessee operate on a non-traditional schedule.  This report provides instructions for how schools convert to a non-traditional calendar in Tennessee, discusses academic benefits, and details the cost differences in this system.  The authors also address how year-round programs work within the community, exploring issues such as childcare availability and extracurricular activities.

Time Out: Time is a Resource We Still Haven’t Figured Out How to Use Wisely
Christopher Cross and Milt Goldberg. Edutopia (Sept. 2005)
http://www.edutopia.org/magazine/ed1article.php?id=Art_1333&issue=sep_05
This article describes the extent to which the clock and traditional schedules control schools. The authors claim that our adherence to such schedules has created five false premises that negatively affect school reform, including the belief that schools can be transformed without giving teachers time to learn more and reorganize their work. Throughout the article, the authors connect time to school reform issues such as the achievement gap. They argue that transforming schools into places where learning takes place in innovative ways will require more time for both teachers and students.


 

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