Last year, the Middle School Program Design Committee (MSPDC) completed an extensive, inclusive study that explored the best possible experience for middle school students. The committee developed recommendations in the areas of student academic needs, student social and emotional needs, scheduling and middle school start time. These recommendations were approved by our board of education in March 2017.
This year, an implementation team has been charged to make these recommendations a reality for our students. The committee met on Sept. 6 in a first step to review scheduling options.
Teams from all six middle schools, as well as Rockwood curriculum staff, were tasked with a design challenge. They created sample schedules that would increase instruction time for mathematics, provide more physical activity for students, and allow students to have more time to explore their learning and connect with teachers - and more.
According to Dr. Lisa Counts, assistant superintendent supervision of schools, it was a collaborative process. "Our teachers brought forth some innovative suggestions, but we still have some work to do," she noted. "Educators wanted to take the sample schedules back to their school communities and have discussions with their own staff. We've come a long way, and we want to take the time to consider what is best for all students."
The implementation team returns in October to discuss start times. The team will be reviewing the MSPDC's late start recommendation approved by the board of education, as well as results from a May 2017 survey that included students, parents, staff and community members. These groups were invited to participate in the survey to determine preferences for start times and provide further insight into additional factors for consideration by the implementation team.
"Our team is committed to later start-and-end times beginning in August 2018," shared Dr. Counts. "We have been charged to optimize the time and configuration of an instructional day based upon our students' needs. We will honor the work that was accomplished last year by the Middle School Program Design Committee."
View the progress of the implementation team.