Bell Schedules (Upper School)
PILOT SCHEDULES FOR FALL 2014
HISTORY BEHIND THE FALL 2014 PILOT SCHEDULES
In meetings with students early in the 2013-14 school year, administrators and teachers heard several concerns about the current Bell Schedule at 'Iolani.
In relation to the school day, students expressed the need for more time to process what they learn during classes and that going from class to class with little processing time built in adversely impacted their ability to absorb and internalize the material. Students clearly want more time to synthesize and reflect upon their assigned reading material so that they can become better learners.
In addition, students shared their thoughts on homework. In many cases students in the upper grades are completing up to 5 hours of homework a night. Even with this dedication of time, they felt like they were not giving equal attention to all subjects and had to rush through assignments to complete all of their homework. The Extended Schedule, with only four classes in a day as opposed to the usual eight classes, gave them both more homework time and processing time per class. These were two of the reasons they looked forward to Extended Schedule days as they felt that they were able to put more thought into their work.
Likewise, faculty have expressed a desire for longer class periods for these reasons: to run labs and then thoroughly debrief the lab with the students, to engage students in deeper discussions, and to have more peer interaction and group work.
Given the extent of the anecdotal information, the school formed a K-12 Curriculum Committee that was tasked with evaluating our academic program and whether or not our current Bell Schedule meets the needs of our students. As part of this work, the committee developed surveys for alumni, students, faculty, and parents.
The results of the survey indicated that ‘Iolani should explore alternative schedules, specifically that 70% of the faculty felt that a different schedule would be better suited for teaching our students.
The Curriculum Committee then researched more than 30 schedules from other schools that could be considered a good fit for ‘Iolani while keeping the following items as maintstays in the future:
-We need to have an Upper School lunch period that will allow us to continue the Lower School Performing Arts Department classes.
-We need to keep 8 courses as an option for students.
-We need to have a schedule that accommodates weekly chapel services.
The faculty then voted on the schedule options vetted by the Curriculum Committee.
The school will pilot the top 3 selected schedules during this first quarter of the school year. Students and faculty will provide feedback along the way to ensure that we are continuing to foster our tradition of academic excellence, while also supporting more project based student-learning opportunities.
Faculty will meet during the November 10 Professional Development Day to review and discuss the student and faculty survey results that initially prompted this work in addition to the results related to the pilot schedules. This discussion will be framed in light of the latest research literature on rigor and student learning.
In mid-November, we will share the selected schedule for 2015-16 with the greater school community and will start the process of preparing teachers and students for that shift and work together towards a smooth transition.