The Freshman Transition Network

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At Camden County High School Freshman Academy we are currently running a 4x4 block schedule. However, we are interested in having one pilot interdisciplinary team next year. We would like to serve 150 students on a year long block schedule using a 6 man team of teachers. We are envisioning the students being able to take 2 elective courses each semester; but the academic courses will be taught by the same core content teachers.

Have any of you implemented a schedule similar to this? If so, do you have any suggestions as to how this can be successful and any obstacles against which we can guard? Also, can you share the impact (both negative and/or positive) that this type of schedule has on student performance? If you have any literature or your own schools’ student achievement rates that would be very helpful. I look forward to reading your suggestions. Thank you.

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Ray and I have worked with schools that have done similar things. A couple things to keep in mind:

1. Each student will probably have 2 core area classes per semester, but don't force students into the same schedule. For example, some students might have English and Math first semester, but not all English students will also have Math at the same time. Other students might have English and Science. Others might have English and History. Others will have History and Math. You get the point... If you don't do this - if you don't allow students to have some flexibility in the way they schedule - then they will always be together with the same students and never get the chance to interact with other students.

2. A good thing you will find is that if during the first semester your team teachers do a good job of teaching standardized expectations, then during the 2nd semester they will meet students knew to their classrooms who already know what is expected.
I'd be curious to know - in response to Denise's post - who is on what type of schedule. Perhaps it would benefit other members if people described their school's type of bell schedule (4x4, A/B Block, 7 Period Day, 6 period Day, etc.) That way the different members would know who they might contact if they want advice/ideas regarding scheduling needs.
At Davenport North High we run a 4X4 block schedule. There are three 9th grade houses. Each house has approximately 85-100 students with one English, math, social studies, and science teacher. Students take two core classes each semester. The three houses have their core classes during different blocks. One house meets Blocks I and II; another meets Blocks II and III; while the third house meets Blocks II and IV. All teachers teach one class outside of the house. We tried to have at least one common block to allow for 9th grade assemblies without interrupting the classes outside of the house. Students are still able to take their elective classes and higher level classes, but these may not be within a house. We do have some students who take classes outside of the house. For example, the house I am in does not offer Geometry, so the students take it from a teacher in one of the other houses. We have had some scheduling problems, but we are getting better at preparing student schedules. Esther Molyneux
Will this pilot program be on a different bell schedule than the rest of the school?
Sorry, I have not responded. I am not very good at checking this site yet. Our whole school is on a 4 X 4 block schedule.


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