6th Grade Schedule Proposal

Report
Parent Forum:
Looking at the 6th
Grade Program
Monday, May 3, 2010
Stony Brook Auditorium
7:00 P.M.
Transitions
“Middle School can seem like a scary place
for children who are making the transition
from elementary to middle school.
Students are looking for close
relationships with both peers and adults,
but moving from class to class every 45
minutes makes this very difficult.” (University
of Michigan study)
The Goals
 Challenge all students at an appropriate level.
 Seek a smooth transition between elementary
and middle school.
 Design a schedule with fewer daily transitions
that meets the needs of 6th grade students as
well as curricular needs.
 Provide opportunities for appropriate
interventions.
Background
 For a number of years, parents of 6th grade
students have expressed concerns over the
number of transitions and the stress levels of
their children.
 Intervention opportunities have been limited by
the density of the schedule.
 To address these concerns, the schools have
altered incrementally, the 6th grade schedule as
many as 5 times in 7 years at the Stony Brook
School and 3 at the Blanchard Middle School,
looking for solutions to these challenges.
Background
 Team Time was created to provide time for
interventions for students, since no RRFs or
MRFs exist in the middle school classrooms.
 More instructional minutes are needed in
mathematics to provide a strong foundation for
the pre-algebra and proposed algebra for all in
7th and 8th grade.
 More instructional minutes in science will
provide for greater inquiry-based experiences.
 Central office administrators, principals,
teachers, and curriculum coordinators have
been included in scheduling discussions
throughout the year.
Why Change the Present
Schedule?
 The curriculum needs to drive the schedule.
The schedule should not drive the curriculum.
 Our current curriculum necessitates more time
for in-depth instruction.
 We want to teach for understanding and not
offer a curriculum that is a mile wide and only an
inch deep.
 Fewer daily transitions benefit 6th graders.
Comparisons
5th grade offerings
120 mins of literacy
75 mins of math
45 mins sci- 2-3 x/wk
45 mins ss- 2-3 x/wk
50 mins-Inte. arts
5x/wk (art, music, PE,
library, technology)
6th grade offerings
40-55 mins of ELA
40-55 mins of math
40-55 mins of science
40-55 mins of ss
40-55 mins of reading
40 mins of For. Lang.
40 mins of Inte. Arts:
(art, music, PE, health,
technology ed.)
GRT-guid/resch/tech
40 mins of T Time
3x/cycle
7th grade offerings
65 mins of ELA
65 mins of math
65 mins of science
65 mins of ss
40 mins of For. Lang.
40 mins Inte. Arts:
(art, music, PE, health,
technology ed.)
GRT-guid/resch/tech
40 mins of T Time
3x/cycle
Instructional Minutes
Comparison
6th grade offerings
Number of total
minutes in team
classes/ cycle = 306
7th grade offerings
Number of total
minutes in team
classes/ cycle = 360
8th grade offerings
Number of total
minutes in team
classes/ cycle = 360
*Middle schools run on a 6-day cycle, so over the course of a
year, 6th graders receive approximately 30 fewer hours of
instruction per subject when compared to their 7th/8th grade
peers.
Why Change the Present
Schedule?
To accomplish the goals, something needs
to change.
The present schedule is no longer an option
to accomplish the stated goals.
Proposals
 Four proposed schedules will be
explained.
 Individual scheduling proposals were
designed by central office administrators,
principals and teachers.
Schedule A
 Offer the following subjects:




English Language Arts (ELA)-full year
Mathematics- full year
Science-full year
Reading as a separate subject-half year or every
other day
 Social Studies-half year or every other day
 Looking at the 6th and 7th grade social studies experience
as a continuum, with topics addressed throughout both
grades.
This results in longer learning blocks of 65 minutes each, with
some reading integrated into ELA, as well as taught as a
separate content area. Reading can also be embedded into
other content areas to help students learn to read non-fiction
text in science and math. Intervention blocks will occur 3x/cycle
for 45 minutes.
Schedule B
 Offer the following subjects






English Language Arts (ELA)- full year
Mathematics- full year
Science- full year
Social Studies- full year
Reading - full year
This results in learning blocks of 50 minutes each,
with some math instruction given each morning by the
homeroom teachers for 20 minutes.
 Interventions in all subject areas are given by the
foreign language teachers 2x/week for 40 minutes,
thus reducing the foreign language instruction to 4
days in a 6-day schedule.
Schedule C
 Offer the following subjects





English Language Arts (ELA)- full year
Mathematics- full year
Science- full year
Social Studies- full year
This results in a rotating/ drop-add schedule with 3
learning blocks of 90 minutes, meeting daily, and a 90
minute intervention block meeting 2x in a 6-day cycle.
Reading is no longer a stand-alone subject.
 Reading instruction will be integrated into ELA.
Reading can also be embedded into the other content
areas to help students learn how to read in science,
social studies and math.
Schedule D
 Offer the following subjects





English Language Arts (ELA)- full year
Mathematics- full year
Science- full year
Social Studies- full year
This results in a schedule that mirrors the 65 minute
blocks in the 7th and 8th grade schedules. Reading
instruction will be integrated into ELA. Reading is no
longer a stand-alone subject. Reading can also be
embedded into the other content areas to help
students learn how to read in science, social studies
and math.
 Interventions blocks will occur 3x/cycle for 45 minutes
each.
What Does the Data Show?
And Why Consider Integrating Reading into
Other Content Areas as Part of the
Proposals?
In the 2009 MCAS results, 46 out of the 50 topperforming 6th grades across the state, integrate
reading into ELA instruction. Westford has 2 of the 4
schools that offer reading as a stand-alone subject in
grade 6.
Reading was eliminated as a stand-alone subject in 7th
grade 10 years ago in Westford and our test scores
have continued to rise over the same time period.
Summary
 The curriculum needs to drive the schedule.
The schedule should not drive the curriculum.
 To accomplish our goals, something needs to
change.
 The present schedule is no longer an option to
accomplish the stated goals.
We welcome your input tonight and through a
survey to be emailed tomorrow.

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