School Design, Schedules, Teacher Workload, and Time

Baltimore – The district and union are piloting a program where schools can modify school working conditions – for example, extend their school day and year – provided there is support from 80 percent of the school staff. Teachers will be compensated for additional hours. The pilot will be expanded to all schools in the 2011-12 school year.

Denver – School schedules and calendars are developed by site-based Collaborative School Committees. Schools may seek waivers from the teacher contract, board policies, or state law by a vote of the teachers in that school to become an Innovation School. Several Innovation Schools in Denver set their own calendars, professional development time, work week, and work day.

Green Dot – The work day and week are defined by teacher responsibilities, such as classroom instruction, preparation, and staff meetings, not increments of time. Preparation must be at least one-sixth of the teacher's total instructional time.

Montgomery County – Teachers are provided with designated professional days for grading and planning, with some opportunity to telework on those days. In addition, two 8-hour unstructured days are provided to each 10-month teacher for collaborative planning to improve instruction and close the achievement gap.

New Haven – In turnaround schools, there is an ability to completely re-craft work rules and compensation, and the decision of staff to apply or reapply represents their agreement to those terms. In other schools, staff has the ability to modify work rules with the vote of 80 percent of the staff.

Winston-Salem – School week and planning time are allocated in flexible week long blocks that can be adjusted at the school level within the limits established by board policy.

* * *

Ideas From Other Districts – Create school design competitions or solicit charter school proposals from teachers and other district educators. Enter into partnerships with local universities, government agencies and nonprofits to invest in innovative school designs, including "wrap-around" services for students that support the academic mission of the school. Create joint projects to rethink school and schedule organization in light of emerging teaching and learning technology.

   Posted in