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Rotate and Drop Trial Begins Monday, 10/21/2019

Dear Parents & Guardians,


As part of the Challenge Success initiative, the middle school has been examining alternative bell schedules that will provide increased scheduling flexibility and instructional time while reducing the harried pace of the school day.  Through our work, we have identified the Rotate and Drop Schedule as a scheduling model that is worth further consideration. Last May we conducted a two-day trial of the Rotate and Drop Schedule; that trial yielded great success. As a result, we are entering into a longer trial period of the Rotate and Drop Schedule.  Our goal is to expose our faculty, staff, and students to this type of creative scheduling for an extended period of time to help simulate what the middle school experience would be like under this scheduling format


We have been preparing both our teachers and students for this three-week trial to enable us to have a successful experience with the Rotate and Drop Schedule.  Today, I addressed the students during their lunch auditorium time and spoke to them about the upcoming trial period. On Thursday, October 17, 2019, in homeroom, students will transpose their existing schedule into the Rotate and Drop format.   On Friday, October 18, 2019, during homeroom, students will be given their schedules back during their homeroom. Students will be able to the completed schedules as a reference throughout the 3- week trial period.   


Some Information About the Rotate and Drop Schedule

The Rotate and Drop Schedule runs an 8-period schedule in 6 blocks plus a lunch block for each grade.  The 8 scheduled periods per day rotate: periods 1-4 in the morning and periods 5-8 in the afternoon. Each day one period will drop out from each of the two rotations respectively(see below).  Each block of the day is lengthened from 41-minutes to 55-minutes. In this scheduling format, teachers will gain an additional 14 minutes per instructional period which will allow for more student-centered lessons, more in-depth discussions, differentiated instruction, and project-based learning opportunities.  The increase in instructional time is achieved by reducing the number of transitions from class to class and dropping two of the eight periods from each school day. As you can see in the templates below, each period rotates through each of the blocks of time and one time out of every four days each period will drop out of the rotation.  Below you will find templates for the three-week trial for grades 6, 7 and 8.


For the purpose of the trial, we will be running this schedule for 12 days which will result in running through three four-day cycles (four days constitutes a full cycle).  I have provided you with templates for each of the three grades at the middle school. Note that each class will meet three out of four days, as a result, each period drops once during the four-day rotation.   Please note that each grade will have a slightly different schedule during this trial period due to the need to adapt our current schedule to fit the Rotate and Drop Schedule.  


We will return to our regular 9-period bell schedule on Wednesday, November 6, 2019.  Please rest assured that teachers will help coach students throughout the school day and remind them where they are going.  We will also make announcements to help guide students and to avoid any confusion. As with anything new and different there will be students (and teachers) who will need assistance, we are prepared to assist everyone to ensure a successful trial and maintain the continuity of instruction.  


In closing, we are excited about the upcoming trial and to learn more about how this scheduling template might work in our school and how it will benefit our students and teachers.  Thank you for your continued support of the Millburn Middle School.


Warm regards,


John Connolly

Principal

Millburn Middle School