New class Schedule
Beginning in September for the 2017-18 school year, St. Joseph’s Prep will have a new class schedule. The reason for this change is to ensure that the Prep’s high quality education is being delivered in the best possible format so that our students are fully equipped to learn at the highest level, based on the most up-to-date research and best educational practices.
Independent School Management (ISM) Evaluation
In fall 2016, St. Joseph’s Prep contracted with ISM, the industry leader in academic scheduling. ISM utilizes scheduling theory developed over three decades along with knowledge of students’ learning needs, while also taking into consideration specific needs of the school and our individual curriculum to provide scheduling options that best meet the needs of our school and our people (students, faculty). Roxanne Higgins, President of ISM, is the most experienced consultant at ISM. In fact, she was so highly recommended that we waited to schedule our visit so that she could be our consultant. We are confident that we are working with the highest quality of professional research available.
This past January, Mrs. Higgins led an extensive and rigorous evaluation at the Prep which included a review of: the master schedule (all teacher and student schedules), classroom schedules, course catalogue, school handbooks, etc. She also held many interviews with teachers, department chairs (representing the needs of all of their teachers), administrators, students and parents, as well as reviewed the data compiled from student surveys completed in November.
Her recommendations were brought to Academic Council in February and a decision was reached. A group of faculty and staff are working on implementation.
Frequently Asked Questions
A: Utilizing the best research available, we are adopting this new schedule change because it will provide opportunities to enhance the overall student experience at St. Joseph’s Prep. The following are more specific reasons for the change (in no set order):
- Help students find a healthy life balance
- Mirror more of a college atmosphere, when all classes do not meet each day
- Give students a chance to experience different classes during their peak times of performance (early morning, mid-day, afternoon) vs. our current schedule doesn’t fluctuate.
- Maximize class time by having less interruption for special events and assemblies
- Guarantee all students have an allotted time for lunch at a regular lunch hour
- Allow time for guaranteed extra help from teachers or student tutors
- Reduce the impact of early athletic dismissals (because classes at the end of the day will vary)
- Reduce the frenetic pace of day
- Reduce the number of bell schedules
- Reduce the conflicts between clubs and other extracurricular activities
- Enable time for faculty collaboration
A: No, the Prep’s rigorous academic courses and their requirements will remain the same. All courses offerings remain for 2017-18.
A: No, students will continue to take between 6 and 7 courses each year.
A: No, the current practice will remain the same. (E.g. If Monday is a snow day off and it is a “B” Letter Day, the day we return to school will be a “B” Letter Day.)
A: The new schedule will provide fewer interruptions than we currently experience as the majority of presentations and assemblies will be held during the Community Period.
A: We felt that this change was important for several reasons. This will more clearly mirror the schedules of most colleges and universities. Also, it will enable our students to enjoy the break without the weight of needing to prepare for January exams. Mid-term exams will be the final 4 days prior to Christmas Break with two exams per day. The 1st Semester will still end in mid-January. There will continue to be 2 “NT” Review Days and that policy will remain the same.
A: Although this is still being reviewed, there will probably be 4 unique bell schedules:
- Regular Schedule
- Mass Schedule
- Special Morning Assembly Schedule (E.g. Honors Convocation) / also serves as snow delay
- Wednesday “Colleagues on Mission” (Faculty/Staff) Meeting Schedule
A: Each student will be required to sign-up for a community period offering by “X” time each day. A list will be generated for the Faculty or Staff Member hosting the offering. This will serve as the attendance form. Any student who fails to sign up for an offering will be defaulted to a study room. We are currently in the process of researching the best system to use for registering and tracking student involvement in community period selections. More to come on this portion of the schedule.