The weekly schedule for 2012-2013 varies from last year’s primarily in the coding and bell schedule.
The revised schedule will allow teachers to work together on an ongoing, more frequent basis. There will now be school meetings every Monday, instead of the past year’s practice of having staff and department meetings on many, but not all, Friday mornings and occasional separate professional development days. “Excluding holidays and the first week of school, there will be 29 Mondays for various school meetings: faculty, department, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) , and Professional Development (PD),” assistant principal of student support services Michael Yi stated in an email on June 1.
As consequence, the two adjoining half day sets for PD that occurred four times a year have been eliminated. “The bell schedule was changed to meet one of our WASC goals to have a standardized schedule for professional development,” assistant principal of curriculum Holly Giles stated in an email on August 22. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges is the organization that grants accreditation to schools based on the established, research-based WASC criteria.
The opportunity for special education teachers to do professional development and curriculum collaboration was another reason to rework the bell schedule. In previous years there was a scheduling issue as school buses for special education students would drop off students during faculty meetings and professional development days, meaning the teachers of that group could not attend the sessions. “It was unfair for our Inclusion teachers to work with their students while the rest of the faculty was not,” Giles said. “The District Transportation office, after many calls and discussions, was able to accommodate Lowell by adjusting their bus schedule on Mondays (their day choice) to have the Inclusion students arrive later in the morning, thus allowing the Inclusion teachers to be duty free and participate in the meeting and workshops with the rest of the faculty.”
The bell schedule of meeting days mirrors last year’s. The faculty meetings go from 7:50 a.m. to 9:05 a.m., giving students a late start as Mods 1-2 start at 9:15 a.m. Since Monday will follow the meeting schedule, Tues-Weds-Thurs-Fri will be C-B-C-B code, eliminating the neutral Fridays of previous years. “This may make it easier for everyone to remember and also easier for teachers to plan,” Yi said. There will be 67 sets of B/C days in total, which should allow more teaching time, according to Yi, who added that any required testing days will be coded as neutral; to balance out the B/C code days of the week sometimes an additional day will be designated as neutral.
Any schedule change disrupts student life, but Lowell students are pros when it comes to shifting schedules as the schedule has been changed three times in the past five years, according to Giles. “There will be some adjustment,” said Giles, “but I’m confident that our school will adapt over time.”