In 1971 musician David Bowie released his hit song “Changes.” Throughout his career he became famous for changing his looks, dress, and musical style; his only constant was change. When he changed, it was exciting, interesting, and new.
Fairmont Prep is excited to introduce a great new change of our own. Many of us have been in various meetings for the past few months discussing ways in which we can positively impact the student experience. Historically, Fairmont Prep has been a school with 7 periods in the day with block days on Wednesday and Thursday. This has helped balance classes for students who are engaged in after-school activities and given teachers more direct instruction time in the classrooms. However, what’s lacking is giving students time to get their work completed for those seven classes. This meant that students were up late at night catching up on work often at the detriment of family time.
Well, starting in the upcoming 2019-2020 school year, Fairmont Prep is going to an 8 period schedule. I am sure you are thinking “How does adding another class make less work for my student?” Actually, that extra period is not going to be for a class at all; it will be what we are calling a “flex period.” Students will have the opportunity to catch up on homework, study for a test, complete a make-up exam, receive tutoring, meet with their counselor, or work on their college applications. Teachers and coaches will not get to use that extra period; it is designed for the students to be able to take a break throughout the day. So the takeaway here is that an additional period actually gives students more free time once the bell rings for the end of the day.
Also with this 8 period schedule, we are moving toward a full block schedule. Mondays through Thursdays students will attend four of their courses each day for 85 minutes each. On Fridays, students will attend all of their classes to do one final check-in for the week. Our students and teachers are already used to a block schedule, but we are now expanding it to allow more in-depth learning to happen in the classroom.
We believe that these changes will ease some of the stress that our students face daily and allow them to become more involved in activities that genuinely interest them. Just like David Bowie, when change is purposeful and made with real intent, it can be quite meaningful.