It is always our desire to use research-based practices to increase student learning. The recent move to digital textbooks is one example of a decision we made based on current research of educational trends that increase student engagement and achievement. According to Hemedi and Ezaleila, who conducted a research study about digital textbook use, “Digital textbooks allow more flexibility in the delivery of teaching by allowing users to select hypertext links. It offers students flexibility with their environments to explore and encourage them to navigate. In this way, students can build their own knowledge structure with cross-references on the topics that will strengthen their knowledge base. Students still follow the set route through subject content generated by designers, but they can also build their own path according to their respective abilities and interests.”
As we approach the next school year, we are planning to implement an improved schedule that we believe will positively impact our learning environment. In place of the traditional 50-minute class schedule we currently use, we will be adopting a modified block schedule. The leading expert on block scheduling is Dr. Robert Lynn Canady. According to Canady, “restructuring schools by using a variety of scheduling and instructional strategies” leads to greater academic achievement and student motivation. Our teachers will be trained using Canady’s resources in how to maximize teaching and learning in a block schedule. The training will happen throughout the summer months.
Our block schedule will consist of three extended periods of 85 minutes that alternate each day, and three 50-minute periods that will meet every day. The core academic subjects, including Bible and foreign language, will meet during the alternating block periods. Electives, including junior high PE, will meet every day during the 50-minute periods. We will be able to offer tutoring every day to all students during one of the 50-minute periods. We will be expanding our school day to run from 7:45 to 3:30 in order to include the tutoring period each day.
We are excited about the upcoming year, and will send more detailed information about class schedules later in the summer. Please feel free to contact Kim Derry at email@example.com for scheduling questions.