Why consider alternative schedules?
Ridgewood Public Schools is exploring our district’s organization of instructional time with the goal of advancing our vision and mission for all RPS students. Paramount to our success is determining how to maximize our time with students, while considering the lessons learned as we faced multiple changes over the past year and a half, along with the priorities and goals outlined in the RPS Strategic Plan. Given shifts in assessment and pedagogy, the Alternative Schedules Task Force (ASTF) will review best practices and data related to later start times for adolescents and research options pertaining to schedules and school operations. Areas of focus will include, but are not limited to, school day start/end times, period lengths, curricular enhancements, and social-emotional wellness. Broad stakeholder input will be gathered through the formation of committees, community presentations, and solicitation of feedback through surveys. At the end of this endeavor, the District will present K-12 schedules that best meet the needs of students and teachers, address curricular needs, and prepare our learners for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.
To begin the work of exploring scheduling options, the District reached out to the staff and community to solicit volunteers who would engage with us through the process. Members of the committee were selected based on diverse interests and representation. For example, teachers across grade levels representing a wide range of subject areas were selected to be part of the committee, as well as parents with children of various ages who participate in a variety of co-curricular activities.
The Alternative Schedules Task Force used the following essential questions to create a roadmap and drive this systemic initiative, following the design process based on the work of Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe.
What opportunities does this potential shift present to advance the goals of the Strategic Plan?
What indicators in the Beliefs and Practices document could be executed with fidelity if we reconsider how we use time?
What place do district initiatives and state mandates have in this work?
How do the logistical concerns get layered into the process toward the advancement of the overall goals?