I'm hoping that I can get some suggestions about how to construct a schedule without art or music and still cover a prep period for each of my teachers, each day.
Has anybody seen how this works? There are always stories about schools without related arts but very little out there that relates to how their schedules function. Thank you for any suggestions you may have.
Although it seems nobody out there will ever read this I’d like to answer my own question in the event somebody with a similar problem stumbles through this apparently dead community.
My school is a K-6 elementary building with two classrooms per grade level. Due to budget cuts, something most of you out there are dealing with this year, both our art and music programs were cut. This caused a bit of a scheduling hurdle since there didn’t seem to be any way to cover the contractual daily prep the teachers were entitled to.
Here was my solution:
1) Construct several possible schedules and offer to hold a meeting to discuss them as well as teachers’ ideas. About ¼ of the staff showed up during the summer to brainstorm with me.
2) Unanimously, the brainstorming group decided on one of the schedules (I’ll share this below).
3) I notified the Superintendent of our progress and he passed it along to the School Committee to get permission to start negotiations with the Union.
4) A joint management committee (Administration and Union Officers) is in the process of working out the details.
So, here is the proposal:
- A change in contract language from prep during the “student day” to prep during the “work day”.
- A shift in the teacher work day from 8:05-2:50 to 7:45-2:30. This shift allows for a full prep before school starts and allows teachers to leave with the students at 2:30. There is no change to the length of the work day.
- This also addresses the issue of common planning time as all teachers have planning time during the same period.
- During PE time, the teacher whose class is in PE works with students from their grade level teammate’s classroom. This helps to alleviate large student numbers by providing a licensed professional that is familiar with their grade level to work in small targeted groups of students.
To recap, this schedule not only provides a daily prep but provides it in a way that promotes grade level collaboration. It also addresses the need for small group instruction for students in need.
It’s a win-win for everybody. I’ll update this thread as we finalize the details. Maybe somebody will stumble across it some day :)
Here is another update in case anybody stumbles upon this page. The day before students came to school we were able to hire a .6 music teacher and a .6 art teacher. With the same emergency funding we were also able to bring back our librarian. Between the new hires, the library, and PE we were able to cover preps for teachers in the "normal" manner. It seems a shame from a scheduling point of view as the proposed schedule would have made a significant move towards a true PLC.
Oh, I have to say that although it is great that the kids will have at least some exposure to art and music, rescheduling the entire school the day before the kids showed up was an adventure! I was able to make it work so that the teachers had common prep within thier grade level every day. That alone won't move us into a PLC model but it is a small step in that direction.