Bell Schedule Overview

New Bell Schedule for 2018-2019

In recent years, many schools across the country, including many Jesuit schools, have undergone a review process that focuses on how their school days are structured. Four years ago, as part of our continual efforts to improve, we began our own review process to examine our bell schedule. Although our schedule has served us well in many ways and for many years, we have grown increasingly aware of its limitations, especially given changes in education over the past few decades and our deepening understanding of how students best learn. 

For example, consistency in class length is a hallmark of effective educational practice. Our current schedule often fails to meet this standard because of a frequent need for ‘special orders’ that reduce class length from 45 minutes to as little as 30 minute periods. Losing those minutes has a significant impact on teaching effectiveness. Additionally, studies have shown it can take an adolescent mind up to thirteen minutes to fully transition from one subject to another before deeper learning can occur. As a result, on some shortened order days, our current schedule provides as little as 17 minutes of quality learning time per class. Another challenge with our current schedule is the five minute passing periods. The growth of our campus has made movement between some classes difficult, if not practically impossible, within these constraints.

Realizations such as these led us to the conclusion that making changes to our bell schedule could help us better achieve our instructional and formative goals in an atmosphere that is more conducive to learning and better paced for a healthy learning environment. After careful consideration and research, concerted collaboration with faculty, staff, students, and parents, and after consultation with nationally recognized schedule change experts, we are excited to announce our new bell schedule.

Regular Order
7:00 - 0 Period
7:45 - Break
8:00 - 1st Period
9:10 - Community Time
10:00 - 2nd Period
11:10 - A Lunch (or 11:10 - 3A Period)
11:35 - 3B Period (or 12:20 - B Lunch)
12:45 - 4th Period
1:55 - 5th Period
3:05 - Break
3:15-4:00 - 6th Period

A Chronological Overview of Regular Order
0 Period

Students in classes such as band, orchestra, and choir begin their day at 7:00 am in 0 period. This 45 minute class period meets every day, ending at 7:45 am. From 7:45 am to 8:00 am students have time to prepare for the school day as needed. This time has traditionally been used by students to meet with teachers for tutorials, extra help, and the like.

1st Period
This 70 minute class period begins at 8:00 am. All students must be present in their 1st period class at which time attendance will be taken promptly at 8:00 am.

Students who have a free period during 1st period must be present at 8:00 am at which time attendance will be taken at designated check-in locations on campus, namely the Library, Clay Atrium, and Dean of Students Office. 

Class periods in the new schedule will have a ‘hard start’ meaning students must be present at the beginning of the class period or they will be marked tardy and given a PH. Classes will end with a ‘soft end.’ This means students may leave class anytime during the last 10 minutes of class in order to reach their next class on time. Students may not leave before the last 10 minutes of class. Students must arrive to their next class on time or they will be marked tardy and given a PH. 

Community Time
‘Community Time’ is a 50 minute period occurring every Regular Order day during which all faculty, staff, and students are on campus but there are no scheduled classes. During this time, students are expected to exercise the responsible use of freedom. Students might choose to attend club meetings, meet with a teacher or counselor, catch up on their homework, study, spend time with their friends, or simply rest during a busy school day. Additionally, other activities might take place such as class-wide meetings, student assemblies, intramural competitions, tutorials, on-on-one academic assistance, or faculty department meetings. Many of the activities occurring during our currently jam-packed lunch will now take place during 'Community Time’ and will no longer interfere with a student’s lunch. 

2nd Period
This 70 minute class period begins at 10:00 am. It will have a ‘hard start’ and ‘soft end.’

3rd Period
This 70 minute class period is tied to a student’s assigned lunch period. Students in Lunch A will be in 3B period. Students in Lunch B will be in 3A period.

Lunch
The new schedule utilizes ‘split lunch’ periods. Each lunch period will be 35 minutes long (thanks to the 'soft end’ of the period preceding it). On Regular Order days, ’A Lunch’ begins at 11:10 am. ‘B Lunch’ begins at 12:20 pm. Meetings and activities will not be scheduled during lunch allowing students to dedicate lunch time to simply eating lunch. Freshmen and sophomores will be scheduled in 'A Lunch’ on almost every day. The only time freshmen/sophomores would be scheduled during ‘B lunch’ is when they are scheduled in a 3rd period class consisting primarily of juniors/seniors. This will occur very rarely. Juniors and seniors will be similarly scheduled in B Lunch. Additionally, students will usually have several times during the day to eat. The Food Court in Moran Dining Hall will remain open continuously during the day allowing students, should they desire, to purchase food before school, during Community Time, at lunch, during their free periods, or after school.  

4th Period
This 70 minute class period begins at 12:45 pm. It will have a ‘hard start’ and ‘soft end.’

5th Period
This 70 minute class period begins at 1:55 pm It will have a ‘hard start’ and ‘soft end.’ From the end of 5th period to the beginning of 6th period (3:15 pm) students have time to meet with teachers as needed.

6th Period
Students scheduled in classes such as Athletic PE, Theater, Debate, or other extracurricular class attend this 45 minute class period from 3:15 pm to 4:00 pm every day. Students who are not scheduled in 6th period class are not required to remain on campus. They may be picked up or leave campus or use this time to meet with their teacher or counselor, study in the Clay Atrium (open until 4:00  pm) or the Library (open until 6:00 pm), or otherwise exercise the responsible use of freedom on campus.

Other Orders
In addition to Regular Order, there are 6 ‘other orders’ we will utilize: Morning Assembly Order, Afternoon Assembly Order, Late Start, Early Dismissal Order, and Green/White Order. This is a reduction from 12 unique bell schedule orders under our current bell schedules. Additionally, we anticipate needing to schedule significantly fewer ‘other orders’ under the new bell schedule. For a complete list of ‘other orders’ click here.

8 Day, Rotating Cycle
Instead of the 6 day cycle used in our current schedule, we will be moving to an 8 day cycle. Classes will continue to rotate from day-to-day. 1st through 5th period classes will meet 5 out of 8 days in a given cycle. 0 and 6th period classes will meet every day for 45 minutes. Below is a graphical representation of the 8 day, rotating cycle.
 


Sample Sophomore Schedule

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Strake Jesuit changing its bell schedule?
In 2014, Strake Jesuit partnered with St. Agnes Academy to examine its bell schedules in light of increased student programming, a diverse curriculum, a growing student body, changing trends in education, and a commitment to further live out its mission as a Jesuit, Catholic school. The current 6-day rotating schedule with 45-minute classes had been in place since the 1980’s, and there has been a growing sense among faculty from both schools that we could more effectively use instructional time during the school day for both learning and collaboration. 

What priorities did Strake Jesuit have when designing its new bell schedules?
•     Create a schedule which fully supports its mission of building leaders and Men for Others through a program of rigorous college preparation in the tradition of the Society of Jesuit
•     Add to student and faculty quality of life
•     Support collaboration (faculty-to-faculty, faculty-to-student, student-to-student)
•     Optimize student engagement and achievement
•     Reduce the frenetic pace of the school day
•     Reduce the amount of homework
•     Guarantee student access to teachers on a daily basis
•     Support a professional development program for faculty growth and renewal
•     Utilize 21st century learning modalities and current technology to develop accessible, innovative, engaging, and relevant student formation programs

What was the process for evaluating the bell schedule?
Strake Jesuit formed a joint bell schedule task force with St. Agnes in the spring of 2014. The task force identified priorities, researched bell schedules at other high schools, held in-depth conversations with community members from both schools, assisted with professional development for faculty members, and drafted potential new bell schedules. In January of 2018, Strake Jesuit and St. Agnes hosted consultants from Independent Schools Management (ISM), an industry leader and expert on bell schedules in private schools. Following ISM’s visit, our schools worked together to design the new bell schedule, which will be, implemented beginning in the 2018-19 school year.

What are some of the benefits of the new bell schedule?
•     Fewer class periods per day allowing students to prepare more effectively each day
•     A regular free period for students during the 8-day cycle allowing students additional time during the school day to complete work
•     Community Time allowing for student-to-student, student-to-faculty, and faculty-to-faculty collaboration on a daily basis
•     Longer periods allowing for enhanced learning opportunities
•     Reduction in “short order” days
•     Potential reduction in homework each day
•     Fewer transitions between classes, which means less instructional time will be spent as students move from subject-to-subject, both mentally and physically

Why is Strake Jesuit changing from 45-minute classes to 70-minute classes?
With the latest brain-based, educational research pointing to students needing time to create connections and reflect on course content as well as the fact that classic components of Jesuit teaching utilize time-intensive techniques such as creating context and allowing for significant reflection, Strake Jesuit believes that 70-minute periods will better optimize instructional time.  

What is ‘Community Time'?
‘Community Time’ is a 50 minute period occurring every Regular Order day during which all faculty, staff, and students are on campus but there are no scheduled classes. During this time, students are expected to exercise the responsible use of freedom. Students might choose to attend club meetings, meet with a teacher or counselor, catch up on their homework, study, spend time with their friends, or simply rest during a busy school day. Additionally, other activities might take place such as class-wide meetings, student assemblies, intramural competitions, tutorials, on-on-one academic assistance, or faculty department meetings. Many of the activities occurring during our currently jam-packed lunch will now take place during 'Community Time’ and will no longer interfere with a student’s lunch. 

If a student has a free period 1st period, what time is he required to be on campus?
At the start of 1st period (8:00 am) on Regular Order days. Students who have a free period during 1st period must be present at 8:00 am at which time attendance will be taken at designated check-in locations on campus. More information on these locations and the related attendance check-in procedures will be conveyed to students closer to the start of next school year and at Matriculation in August.

What does a ‘hard start’ and a ‘soft end’ mean for classes beginning and end times?|
Class periods in the new schedule will have a ‘hard start’ meaning students must be present at the beginning of the class period or they will be marked tardy and given a PH. Classes will end with a ‘soft end.’ This means students may leave class anytime during the last 10 minutes of class in order to reach their next class on time. Students may not leave before the last 10 minutes of class. Students must arrive to their next class on time or they will be marked tardy and given a PH. 

How do two lunch periods work?
The new schedule utilizes ‘split lunch’ periods. Each lunch period will be 35 minutes long (thanks to the 'soft end’ of the period preceding it). On Regular Order days, ’A Lunch’ begins at 11:10 am. ‘B Lunch’ begins at 12:20 pm. Meetings and activities will not be scheduled during lunch allowing students to dedicate lunch time to simply eating lunch. Freshmen and sophomores will be scheduled in 'A Lunch’ on almost every day. The only time freshmen/sophomores would be scheduled during ‘B lunch’ is when they are scheduled in a 3rd period class consisting primarily of juniors/seniors. This will occur very rarely. Juniors and seniors will be similarly scheduled in B Lunch. Additionally, students will usually have several times during the day to eat. The Food Court in Moran Dining Hall will remain open continuously during the day allowing students, should they desire, to purchase food before school, during Community Time, at lunch, during their free periods, or after school.