Modified Block Schedule 3.0 may be ahead


Jack Magargee

More changes anticipated to the current schedule for the 2016-2017 school year.

A committee of teachers and administrators has been working on updates to the current schedule in order to improve the general effectiveness of it.

Pending next year’s updates, the class of 2017 will see their fourth revised schedule in their four years in the upper school.

A roadmap team formed in October to start to discuss what improvements could be made to the schedule for future years.

The roadmap team working on schedule revisions put a focus on face-to-face time between teachers and students and overall consistency as priorities, according to Math Department Leader Ms. Lauren Lesch, who co-led the roadmap team with Dean of Students Mr. Tim Dougherty.

“The fact that every schedule has every period starting and ending at a different time makes it hard to keep track of what time the period starts, what time the period ends on an A, B, C, Reverse C,” Lesch said, “[Teachers] wanted to see their students more often and for more time.”

As of our April press date, Dougherty and Lesch were not yet ready to share the new schedule revisions with The Blackfriar Chronicle.

The team was made up of teachers and administrators who brought their own opinions and also the input of students and faculty.

“We surveyed a couple homerooms randomly,” Lesch said. “And Mrs. Dougherty would grab students in the LC and ask them about the schedule, what they liked, what they didn’t like, for about a week and a half.”

The 2014-15 school year saw a brand-new modified block schedule, which represented a significant change from the previous model of every class meeting daily.

The modified block schedule operates by having the same eight classes in a row, but instead of having all eight in one day, classes rotate through five daily blocks over an eight-day cycle. “Community Time” falls between first and second block, and represents time for students to meet with teachers, work on projects, or get involved with activities.

In September 2014, Assistant Head of School Mr. Steve Valyo told The Blackfriar Chronicle that the new schedule was implemented to “reduce the frenetic pace of the day and to allow the schedule to be more student driven than teacher driven.”

In the 2015-2016 school year, minor changes were made to the modified block schedule. The most notable was integration of specialty classes into community time. Homerooms moved back to the start of the school day.

Now that the school year is almost complete, the roadmap team is almost ready to unveil the schedule for next year.

“It was a really interesting process. They put a lot of work into it, a lot of time, a lot of effort, and they collected a lot of feedback so I think it was a great process to watch happen,” Upper School Head Mr. Ron Algeo said.

Now that this is technically the fourth schedule in four years, should students expect schedule changes to be an annual tradition?

If more schedule revisions are ahead, Dougherty hopes that the team working on the schedule will stay consistent. “Ideally, we would keep some of the same people so we had some of the information they have. [The roadmap team members] know the process and the surveys,” he said.

Algeo suggested that frequent revisions may be part of Malvern’s process moving forward. “Older practices would have us pick something and keep it for 10 years and not respond to feedback,” Algeo said. “ A lot of our new practices here are looking at trying some new things we think would be beneficial and getting feedback