Saturday, August 10, 2013

Challenge: Crazy bell schedule shoot-out!

When I arrived at Rio Americano in 1986, the school had a bell schedule I didn't expect.

Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays were traditional 6-period days, but Wednesdays and Thursdays were "block days": the bells rang at the same time, but students would attend—on Wednesdays—1st period for two hours, then 3rd period for two hours, then 5th period for two hours. On Thursdays, it was 2nd, 4th, and 6th periods for two hours. The passing period served as a optional break to be used or not at each teacher's discretion. There was also a 10-minute "nutrition" break added to the passing period between 2nd and 3rd period (and between the morning blocks).

The block period was generally popular with science and language teachers, and generally unpopular with math teachers. From time to time over the many years of my tenure, the faculty was asked to vote on whether or not to continue the block schedule. The block won every vote. As more votes were held, the block's margin of victory increased.

Then it was decided that all schools in the district would implement "faculty collaboration". Districtwide, all school's would release students early on Thursday; Thursday became the "short day".

So we had to move our blocks to Tuesday and Wednesday. (A vote to discontinue the block was held; again this push failed.)

Then it was discovered that due to the logistics of administering state-mandated tests that are not given to seniors, our schedule fell short of the state-mandated number of instructional minutes. So mid-block breaks were eliminated. That meant six fewer bell-rings on block days, but the other bells rang at the same time.

Next it was decided that if we increased periods by a minute and reduced our mid-morning break, already down to 8 minutes down to 5 minutes), we could legally allow seniors not to attend school during the administration of state-mandated tests they could not take. Otherwise we would need to warehouse them during those hours.

This brought a bit of "pain" to teachers and students every school day of the year, but eased the administrative burden to the school during April's test week. After trying that for a year, teachers voted to abandon it so as to restore the mid-morning break.

But instead of returning to the schedule we used two years ago, it has been decided that we need to do this:

1 7:50 - 8:49 7:50 - 9:53 - - - - - - - - 7:50 - 8:37 7:50 - 8:49
2 8:54 - 9:54 - - - - - - - - 7:50 - 9:53 8:42 - 9:30 8:54 - 9:54
3 10:06 - 11:06 10:07 - 12:11 - - - - - - - - 9:42 - 10:29 10:06 - 11:06
4 11:11 - 12:11 - - - - - - - - 10:07 - 12:11 10:34 - 11:21 11:11 - 12:11
5 12:46 - 1:46 12:48 - 2:50 - - - - - - - - 11:26 - 12:13 12:46 - 1:46
6 1:51 - 2:50 - - - - - - - - 12:48 - 2:50 12:48 - 1:35 1:51 - 2:50

While this is the craziest bell schedule I've encountered in my 27 years of teaching, it may not be the craziest bell schedule out there.

I challenge you to present a crazier, verifiable high school bell schedule.

My verification link: Rio Americano Bell Schedule. (Lest you think I was making this up.)


Jonathan said...

I had a similar schedule at a school I used to teach at, with a homeroom inserted three times a week:

Monday: Periods 1-6
Tuesday: Blocks 1,3, Homeroom, 5
Wednesday: Late Start, Blocks 2, 4, 6 (no break)
Thursday: Blocks 1, 3, Homeroom, 5
Friday: Blocks 2, 4, Homeroom, 6

I disliked the late start Wednesdays for collaboration since we always had major tardy problems on that day. Now if we had a week where there was a holiday on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, the schedule would get shifted and Monday would become a block day.

The types of schedules which I think are the craziest are the ones that have two different lunch schedules (i.e. "1st Lunch" and "2nd Lunch"). The schools in Roseville use this schedule:

Dean Baird said...

Ah yes, the Homeroom Menace. We never had it at Rio. So things could be worse. Now I fear for the future.

Thanks, Jonathan!

kossover said...

You want crazy? My school has a different schedule for almost every day of the year. I'm not making this up, and I am the cause of it. We have eight class slots, called blocks, labeled A to H.

In a five day week:

Mon: A, B, Assembly C, D (75 minutes each class, 30 minute assembly)
Tue: E, F, Club, G, H (75, 30)
Wed: B, E, A, F, D, C (55)
Thu: A, B, Assembly, H, C, G (55)
Fri: F, E, Assembly, D, G, H (55)

In a four day week, we do a Mon, Tue, Mon, Tue schedule but with the classes in a different order.

In a three day week, we do a Wed, Thur, Fri schedule, but in Thur, Wed, Fri order.

Additionally, we get off early on Fridays (we are a Jewish School) as sunset gets earlier. So, October through March we cut out the assembly on Fridays.

Dean Baird said...

Zeke may well have a winner, proving once again that you can do *anything* at a private school!