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Master Schedule Guide: Stage 4

1 Analysis, Adjustment, and Distribution of Schedules

Magnifying glass over word Analysis
Analysis, Adjustment, & Distribution of Schedules. Download PowerPoint.

Stage 4 involves analysis of the “draft,” “best effort” master schedule. For example, to what extent is the resulting master schedule student and learning centered? To what extent are pathways/academies/SLCs balanced in terms of size and diversity? To what extent do all students have access to advanced classes? To what extent are teacher and room assignments fair and feasible?

Stage 4 also involves the master schedule team making any needed adjustments to the schedule and distributing student schedules to students and teacher schedules to teachers.

In addition, the master schedule team needs to plan for the beginning of the new school year. For example, what are the strategies and materials that will help students new to the school make informed choices about their pathways and electives?

 

Tasks & Timelines

Month 10 (typically, May)

NOTE: For purposes of this Master Schedule Framework and the description of the Stages of the Master Schedule both the building of the Master Schedule Board and the initial computer software runs to “load” schedule students and classes occurs in Stage 3.  However, there is overlap as part of Stage 4 involves using the reports that the scheduling software generates to analyze the results, and then adjusting the Master Schedule accordingly.  

Once the full master schedule is available, it is checked for:

  • Whether it follows the principles and priorities established (e.g., it is student and learning centered, equitable, and arrived at through an open process)
  • Whether Pathways/academies/SLCs are balanced in terms of size and diversity
  • Whether all students have access to advanced classes
  • Whether key student needs have been met (e.g., graduation requirements)
  • Whether teacher and room assignments are fair and feasible
  • Whether all potential conflicts have been considered and to the degree possible eliminated

Typically, the team will run a range of reports available through the student information system scheduler/builder and…

  • Analyze the load balance regarding class sizes
  • Utilize the Student Free Period Analysis Report to double-check that every student is fully scheduled with access to the maximum number of available credits
  • Assign Homerooms and/or Advisories (as appropriate)
  • Provide master schedule status reports and readiness to “finalize” and distribute student and teacher schedule reports to the Associate Superintendent OR Director of Scheduling and/or other Site/District officials, as appropriate

Team “finalizes” the master schedule. Typically, this involves renaming the final schedule and following procedures in the student information/management system for finalizing/”locking in”  a schedule.

  • Team provides “final” draft copies of the Master Schedule, class rosters and individual teacher schedules to Pathway/Academy/SLC/Department leads and teachers
  • Counselors and pathway leads examine each student schedule to identify any conflicts
  • Team gathers feedback and makes changes as needed
  • In so far as is feasible, tentative schedule is provided before summer break
  • Tentative Class schedules are distributed to students and teachers
    • Note: Some master schedule teams describe mailing copies of student schedules home in late Spring/early summer to allow for student/parent verification and so that any errors can be fixed before the end of the “old” school year or very early in the summer.
  • Students are provided reading lists and/or summer assignments for courses they will be taking in the new school year.
  • Make additional adjustments
    End of school year adjustments
    These might include:
    • Student requests for changes after they have received their schedules.
    • Any Corrections for clerical errors.
    • Course changes related to grade reversals – (Typically, students were programmed based on grades in progress at mid-year. While final grades are not yet available, teacher “failure warning lists” may indicate that a student who was passing a foreign language course may no longer be passing.  Or a student who failed a first term course may have made up her/his grade and is also now passing the second term course.

New Admissions (occurring late in the school year. A school feeder pattern may have changed and there may be a greater influx of incoming ninth graders.   OR new Transfers/Discharges.

NOTE: In Stage 5: Fine-Tuning, Readjustment, and Assessment, these same tasks are repeated and re-repeated or “updated” both in the weeks before and after the end of the old school year and in the weeks before and after the start of the new school year.

Return to overview

Tools & Strategies

Overview of Master Schedule and “a-g” Analysis

A simple analysis can quickly indicate a school’s ability to offer sufficient “a-g” courses to its students by comparing the school’s master schedule to its “a-g” list. This analysis will show how many “a-g” courses are offered, and how many sections of each course are offered. It reveals how many students are challenging themselves and able to access “a-g” curriculum. It also lets you see what courses are on your official Doorways “a-g” list but not offered, and what courses being taught in your high school might have “a-g” potential.

Conducting this analysis annually will help keep your Doorways list up-to-date and accurate, allow you to conduct a series of analyses, reveal what percentage of your courses meet "a-g" standards, and may well open opportunities to increase the number of “a-g” courses and access to these courses for your students, helping them meet their college-going aspirations.

Ratio of “a-g” to non-“a-g”

What is the overall ratio of “a-g” to non-“a-g” courses your school offers? Count up all the sections your school offers where students are enrolled. Then total the number of “a-g” sections. Divide “a-g” sections by total sections. What number do you get? As a rule of thumb, in order for all your students to minimally complete the required 15 "a-g" courses, your school should have at least 62.5% of its total sections as “a-g” sections.

Courses not highlighted on the master schedule

Take a look at your master schedule again. What can you learn about the pattern of courses your school offers? What classes or sections are not highlighted? Do some of these course have "a-g" potential? Are they:

1. Special Ed classes? ELD? PE? ROTC?
2. CAHSEE support classes for Language Arts and/or Math?
3. Graduation requirements or academy requirements?
4. Career-technical education (CTE) courses?

You may find that your school has many classes, including CTE and academy classes, that could qualify for "a-g" credit. For courses that have “a-g” potential, now would be a good time to start collecting the information needed to submit them for approval. You can update your list and submit new courses any time you want, as many times as you want, before October 1. Make sure to submit courses early -- no later than the end of February -- so that you have time to make any corrections or revisions in rejected courses. Remember, you may have to modify and resubmit the course multiple times before it is approved.

You can also save time in early fall by removing courses that will not be offered that school year. That way, you can focus your time on revising potential new courses. Remember, if courses are not approved, and not on the "a-g" list, students cannot count them toward eligibility. For more information about the supporting materials you will need for each course you would like to submit head to the Doorways home page, then to "a-g" Online Updates. The more courses your school offers that meet “a-g,” the more opportunity your students will have to become eligible for college!

Courses on the “a-g” list but not the master schedule

Courses that are on the “a-g” list but not on the master schedule should be deleted from the “a-g” list. These removed courses can be easily reinstated within three years. Again, visit Doorways home page for more information.

Aside from the fact that out-of-date "a-g" course lists give anyone who sees them misinformation, they can also hurt students. College admissions officers use the “a-g” list, not your master schedule, to examine what options were available to applicants, so they will think that students had access to all those listed. If they see students appearing to avoid challenging options, it can hurt students' chances for admission.

For example, if your “a-g” list has seven AP courses on it but your school only offers three, application reviewers will assume that students had access to all seven. A student who took all three AP courses will not be seen as someone who took the most challenging schedule possible, but rather as one who passed up the opportunity to take four difficult courses. Many colleges will rank how challenging a pattern of courses students took ahead of their GPA in making their admission selections.


Examining a Master Schedule with an Equity Lens

  • What percentage of the courses offered meet the standards of college preparatory courses?  (In California, what percentage of courses are a-g courses?)
  • Examine each subject area/discipline/department’s offerings. By subject area, what percentage of courses are college preparatory courses?  (meet a-g requirements)
  • To what extent are Career and Technical courses also college preparatory courses?
  • To what extent are Special Education students fully included in academic core classes?
  • To what extent are English Language Learners and Special Education students fully enrolled in Linked Learning Pathways, College and Career Academies, and other small learning communities?
  • To what extent does each Linked Learning Pathway/ College and Career Academy/Small Learning Community reflect the diversity of the school as a whole?
  • Does the master schedule allow all students access to advanced classes?
  • (California-specific)   Is the school’s official UCOP (University of California Office of the President) a-g course list current and accurate? If not, what specific issues are involved?
  • Do advanced courses, such as Advanced Placement courses, reflect the diversity of the school as a whole?
  • Does the current bell schedule support increased instructional time for students needing additional support?
  • What are areas of strength in the master schedule and the master schedule process?
  • What are areas of needed improvement in the master schedule and the master schedule process?
  • To what extent does the pathway and course selection and registration process serve all students well?

Materials/Artifacts to Examine:

  • Current master schedule
  • Current bell schedule
  • Current UCOP approved a-g course list (California-specific)
  • Current College Board AP approved course list
  • International Baccalaureate courses or other advanced courses
  • Dual enrollment courses
  • Any course pre-requisites or requirements (teacher approval, certain grades, etc.)
  • School’s single plan for student achievement
  • Pathway and Course Selection and Registration process
  • Class load analysis (teacher, subject, students by grade levels/gender/ethnicity
  • Student achievement data – grades, test scores on standardized tests
  • Teacher contract (if applicable) for contractual instructional minutes, # of preparations, prep time, etc.

Return to overview

Master Schedule Notebook


The Master Schedule Notebook serves as a repository for recording scheduling data, ideas, insights, decisions, etc. at every stage of the Master Schedule development process. It documents the process, the results, and the learning that occurs along the way. It is also a place to save artifacts of the master schedule development work that will inform both reflection on the work and the cycle of continuous master schedule improvement.

The Master Schedule Notebook/Log/Journal/Portfolio may be maintained in a binder, as a set of folders, as a set of files on a platform such as Google Drive, or elsewhere in the cloud.

Recommendations for Master Schedule Notebook content as well as checklists, templates, prompts, and forms are provided in the Master Schedule Notebook section for each Stage of the Master Schedule development process. In addition, recommendations for a District level Master Schedule Notebook are included in the District System of Support section of the Guide.
 

Contents Cover Sheet
This includes a checklist for recommended Contents for Stage 4 of the Master Schedule Notebook. This also serves as a cover sheet for the Stage 4 Section of the Master Schedule Notebook.

Reflection on Stage 4
Description of Cycles of Reflection, Sample Reflection Questions, and Stage 4 Team Reflection Prompt.