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SCHEDULE ENHANCEMENTS

Continuous improvement is grounded in the mission and strategic plan of Saint Thomas Academy.  Each school year we work to continuously innovate and best serve our students and families.  As part of our ongoing ISACS accreditation process, this spring we partnered with the consulting firm ISM to complete a deep dive into our daily schedule.

The daily schedule is analyzed yearly by faculty, staff, and students through surveys.  Saint Thomas Academy adopted a block schedule for the 2016-17 school year.  The schedule was most recently adjusted in the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years.  

The Scheduling Task Force consists of faculty members from each department and Division Heads.  The group met with ISM and consulted student and faculty focus groups, analyzed survey results and other data collection points to present the enhancements to the block schedule.

ENHANCEMENT PRIORITIES:

  • Meet the learning and wellness needs of our students.

  • Meet the professional and wellness needs of our faculty.

  • Find time for more electives (semester based) in the Upper School.

  • Provide community time (assembly, advisory, formation, Mass).

  • Guarantee extra help (dedicated tutoring time) on a daily basis (30 minutes).

  • Preserve the shared Upper School VISTA band/orchestra program with Visitation.

Enhancements:

  • 55-minute classes; courses meet 5 out of 8 days in a rotation
  • 8-day cycle - courses rotate throughout the day within the 8-day schedule
  • Evenly paced day
  • Formation + morning break = 30 minutes
  • 40-minute daily afternoon community time
  • 2:50 p.m. - end of day
  • 25-minute afternoon tutoring and teacher office hours
  • Semester based electives
  • 2 lunch periods

ENHANCEMENTS BENEFITS

8-Day Cycle: Accommodates the varied "best learning times" for both students and teachers and allows for a better flow to the overall school day.  The rotation is easy to remember, periods are the same length, making it easy for teachers to prep.  The impacts of absences for any one class due to late arrival/early dismissals are lessened.

Formation + Morning Break: Allows for social development, a brain break, access to food, and time “owned” by the student. 

Community Time (formerly B-Block and Flex): Provides an opportunity to meet with teachers without working around lunches and other conflicts. Also, reduces schedule conflicts for students that wish to participate in both extracurriculars and clubs/groups.

End of Day Tutoring: An earlier release provides additional access to teachers for extra help, needed care and guidance.  Teachers are available for dedicated tutoring.

Enhanced Elective Model: More opportunities to explore areas of interest.  Band, choir, and orchestra students also enrolled in a World Language will now have the opportunity to take electives.  Electives will be semester based, which allows for schedule flexibility.

Military Leadership Class Structure: A platoon model which offers the benefits of a direct and intentional mentoring relationship between upper and underclassmen.  Stronger cohesion from top to bottom within the Corps of Cadets.  The scheduling conflicts will be lessened and allow for additional opportunities for group exercises and vertical alignment of curriculum.

Fewer Missed Classes:  Because of the rotating schedule, no course will get missed every holiday, professional day, or from Athletic dismissals.  No course will always be the first course on a Monday or the last course on a Friday.

More teacher prep time:  Faculty and staff will now have more time to prepare and to collaborate with each other. 


 

Sample Schedules