North Springs Block Schedule Update

From Mr. Hanson:
All this year we have been planning for our move to an A-B block scheduling model, and had the opportunity to practice this in March with great success. We had been moving deliberately with planning our master schedule and scheduling student electives for next year, prior to the shutdown in March. One thing that has become very apparent though is that next school year will be anything but normal. Our district is currently working on three options for starting the school year, but with the understanding that how we start the year may quickly change as conditions change. This uncertainty is troubling when you start thinking about implementing something brand new that completely changes the way we do our schedules and teach our students and, the impact it has when you have to shift gears to teaching in a different way, much like we did in March when we went to the virtual model. In thinking about change management, this is arguably one of the worst types of scenarios to try and implement change in.

With that uncertainty, I have made the decision to pause our move to block scheduling for next year. This is my decision, not one that reflects anything happening in the district. I am worried about what happens if we start off with block scheduling, and then quickly move into virtual learning because of health conditions in the fall. As I have talked to parents, teachers and students over the past several weeks, this has come up over and over again as a general concern. When students are not on campus, the inherent advantages of the block scheduling model; such as longer classes for content delivery and only 4 classes a day, are no longer relevant. What does happen though are the concerns about adding another class for students, and making sure we can virtually instruct all of our students. A large group of our student body will be receiving incompletes next week due to the inherent struggles that have cropped up with a virtual instruction model that we have used the past three months.

I am committed to moving to block scheduling, the same thing I said last year. As a school, we are ready, but the uncertainty of next year is just too hard to overlook. The inherent advantages of the A-B block model to our students and staff are too hard to ignore as we continue to improve our instructional programs and achievement at North Springs. The conditions though to implement a change like this need to be clear of other  interferences. 

What does this mean? This next school year will be identical to this past year. For our students, it means that the core classes they have selected will remain. The change will come with the additional electives that we were going to offer, will be shelved for a year. That extra elective that resides in each student’s course request will be ignored. Our schedule for next year will be similar to the schedule that we have used this year that has worked well.

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