Recent News from Matignon High School
Matignon Implements New Daily Schedule
April 3, 2018
We are writing to share with you what I think is extremely exciting news! As you know, over the past two weeks we have been testing a potential new schedule to be implemented next year. As we have shared previously (see here), the draft schedule was the culmination of tremendous amounts of research and efforts over the past year and was designed to provide our students and faculty with an optimal learning environment.
We are delighted to share that the past two weeks have exceeded our expectations in many ways. Our new schedule not only offers a later start time, but provides transition time during the day for students, allows for a longer lunch, dedicated class time for specific projects and class activities, and more time for faculty collaboration.
Over this past week, we have had numerous conversations with students and faculty regarding how the schedule is working out. As stated above, the evidence is beyond what we had hoped for and has validated our expectations. One student wrote the following, “In regards to the schedule trial week, I would like to inform you that I very much enjoy this change in schedule…I feel more refreshed before the school day. I have enjoyed having longer class times because I feel that my classes accomplish more within the class period. At first, I thought that only having 2 lunches would be very crowded but that has not been the case. I also enjoy having that common period between the 2 lunches. With everyone I've talked to, I have only heard positive things about the schedule change. I do not know if this is a possibility but in my opinion, keeping the schedule like this would be very beneficial for both the students and the teachers...” This opinion has been almost universally echoed by students that administration and faculty have spoken with.
We met yesterday with the faculty and were amazed to hear that they report an increase in student achievement, relaxed and less anxious students, more time to plan with colleagues, and they too asked if this schedule, or a variation, would be possible to keep for the balance of the year. Following the meeting, and as a result of the anecdotal feedback we received, we decided to survey the entire student body and faculty as to their opinions of keeping such a schedule. Again, we were shocked to find over 90% of our community is in support of keeping a version of this modified schedule!
It was never our intention to make changes to our schedule this year. But faced with this evidence of support and the immediate impacts it is having on our students’ performances and mindset, we feel it would be irresponsible not to consider the possibility for the balance of the year. As always, we feel it is our job to provide the best possible learning environment for our students and to help them become successful. There are some aspects of this trial schedule which we feel clearly do that and which we want to implement immediately to their benefit.
Therefore, beginning next week we plan to extend the trial schedule, or rather pieces of it. At this time we feel that it would be unfair to our students and teachers to fully implement the block scheduling (which occurred this Wednesday and Thursday) as our faculty is still working on pedagogical techniques to fully utilize that time.
There are also aspects of the schedule which we have modified based on student and faculty feedback. The result is a slightly altered schedule to the one which we tested last week and Monday and Tuesday of this week. This new schedule can be found HERE or below.
The highlights, for planning purposes, are a school day that runs from 8:25 until 2:15 and which eliminates the early release on Tuesdays. We will drop one class per day, as in the test schedule, and have slightly altered the lunch periods. We also will be increasing supervision in the building between the hours of 6:30 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. to ensure that there are comfortable spaces for students to gather in the mornings. While we are delighted to be able to make this important and effective change immediately, we also know that we will continue to have some growing pains and will work through them as best as possible.
We have spoken to many parents over this past week as well. However, we would like to hear from all of you. Next week we will send out a survey to get your thoughts on the schedule and impressions for moving forward. We will, of course, be continuing to monitor the effectiveness of the changes and listen to the perspective all stakeholders. At this time, however, we feel it is in our students’ best interest to extend these pieces of this trial indefinitely. If you would like to share your thoughts directly, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or at (617) 876-1212.
Again, thank you for your support in these efforts. We are truly excited at the prospects of an enhanced learning environment for our students for the balance of the year.
Timothy M. Welsh