Academy Solutions – Part 1 – Scheduling, Academy Size, Purity and Equity
When scheduling an academy, several factors influence the ability to maintain purity with both students and teachers while at the same time providing students equal access to courses. These factors include the number and grade level of students involved, the number of student periods in the schedule, the number of teacher periods in the schedule and the class size limits. The examples are from a school on a 6-period student day, 5 period teacher day and a 30-student class size limit. Each letter in the schedule represents a group of 30 students. In both examples the students take 4 courses in the academy and 2 courses outside. There are 120 students in the first example. The students of the pure cohort are able to take courses outside of the academy during periods 1 and 6. The teachers have a common prep period and teach one section outside of the academy. Since all students are in the academy during periods 2 through 5, the use of time during these academy periods is flexible. Obviously, the schedule could be shifted such that periods 3 through 6 could be grouped which could facilitate career exploration and other opportunities for students.
With the addition of 30 more students in the second example with 150 students, the structural dynamics are quite different. Again, the teachers share a common prep, but teachers are full-time academy teachers. The students of the pure cohort also take 4 courses in the academy and 2 courses outside. In contrast to the 120-student example, the students in this configuration are able to go out of the academy any period of the day. For example, a student in the “A” group is able to go outside the academy during periods 1 and 3. If this student needs to take a course that is only offered during period 2, all that needs to be done is to switch the student from the “A” progression of classes to the “E” progression of classes. This is especially helpful when academy students need to take a specific singleton. This structure does fragment the flexible use of time. One example is where three groups of students can participate within a 2-period block of time (during periods 2 and 3, groups “B”, “C” and “D” could participate).
Phil Saroyan, College & Career Academy Support Network, University of California, Berkeley