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We are currently looking at having a modified block schedule which will allow us to see our freshman once a week, broken into 4 groups, in a 70 minute setting, kind of like a set advisory period.We are a small school with about 95 incoming freshman.  I would appreciate feedback on the following:

1. Is 70 minutes too long? 

2. Are we missing the mark by not incorporating our Freshman Success program into the freshman core classes? Our freshman team is made up of the four main teachers that will be teaching the freshman in their core classes. 

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I think 70 minutes sounds pretty long for that type of class - although I'm not a big fan of most classes that are that long.

I think you've hit the nail on the head, though, when you ask if you've missed the mark.  Freshman Success will be exponentially more effective if all Freshman Team teachers incorporate and teach those ideas in their core classes.  Absolutely no question about it.

Have you read The Ninth Grade Opportunity yet?  (  I think you'll find info on this topic there.

70 minutes is fairly long, but since it is only once a week and if  the time is planned and used wisley it could be of great benefit. The Freshman Success program should be incorporated into the core classes to make it uniform throughout. 

Seventy minutes seems like a long time, but I agree if it is used wisely and planned well, it could be very effective.

While I also agree incorporating the freshmen program into core classes is ideal, if you are in a situation where you do not have buy in from all core teachers, this may be a great way to get started helping freshmen increase their success at your school.

Beth - you make a good point, which is an excellent reminder of the importance of getting the right teachers on your Freshman Team(s).  For this role, we need teachers who can reach consensus with their teammates, who are phenomenal content instructors, who desire to Go Beyond the Content ( to serve as a compass ( in a child's life, and who recognize that they are part of a very important mission.

I have been doing school scheduling for over 20 years and have had everything, literally: 6 periods, 7 periods, 6+1 with the plus one being Homeroom & advisory, A/B block,A/B/C block, and 4X4. Seventy minutes is enough time to chunk a lesson into "consumable" pieces, complete labs, view & review video. The 4X4 gives students fewer subjects at a time, fewer textbooks are required, and if you have the luxury of allowing your teachers a planning period every day, it improves teaching practice and morale. The drawback is it does take a few more teachers to make it work. Be glad to give you my personal thoughts. Email me:


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