DESIGN Phase Project Update

Posted by Gabriel McCormick on 3/5/2024 2:00:00 PM

Hello Everyone,


What follows is a fairly long update about where things stand for the Middle School Review after the recent rounds of feedback. The key points are outlined below, and additional details follow for those who would like them.


Thank You

First, thank you to everyone who participated in the process so far. This includes folks who responded to surveys, participated in focus groups, discussed ideas with colleagues, and everyone who provided thoughtful feedback in any way. Throughout this process folks have been thinking carefully about how this work will impact themselves, their colleagues, families, and students. We all appreciate your engagement and consideration.


I would also like to offer special thanks to Joanne Shaughnessy, Charles Chang, and Tham Tran in the data team for compiling enormous amounts of data about staffing and schedules so that the team at New Solutions K-12 had high quality information for their assessments.


Lastly, I want to thank our working group and the team from New Solutions K-12. The work so far has been thoughtful and thorough. Additionally, New Solutions K-12 has been incredibly responsive to our specific needs and any shifts we have needed to make to accommodate the process.


Key Points:

  • The draft schedule proposal is not going forward.

  • There will be no district-wide changes to school schedules for the 24-25 school year.

  • Schools will continue to schedule as their building requires.

  • Work will continue developing a more ambitious plan that effectively incorporates our goals.

  • This will take time to ensure that all the details are accounted for, including staffing, workload, professional learning, and student experience.

Additional Details


What We Heard

This most recent round of feedback was clear and consistent. Folks said, quite clearly, that if we make changes to our middle school schedules, we should make changes that get us great schedules, not just marginal improvements.


Both our planning discussions and your feedback clearly say that to have great schedules, we need:

  • unchecked

    A more common experience for middle school students to ensure greater and more equitable success at BHS. 

  • unchecked

    High-quality intervention for those who need it to support our district’s commitment to equity and academic achievement.

  • unchecked

    A greater level of student voice and choice to improve engagement.

  • unchecked

    A greater level of SEL as identified in the strategic plan.

We also heard that folks see little value in gradually shifting schedules over a period of a few years. The feedback we received clearly encouraged us to plan carefully and take a larger bite all at once.


As you might expect, building a plan that can thoughtfully embed high-quality academic intervention, student choice, and SEL will require careful planning so that these changes do not overwhelm our educators, students, or families.


What Does This Mean?

We are going to take your feedback and build a new plan. The draft that was proposed is not going forward. This means we are not planning any large changes to middle school schedules across the board for the 24-25 school year.


As always, individual schools may adjust schedules to meet their needs, but we don’t think we have time to make large district-wide changes for 24-25 in a thoughtful manner.


This also means that the work of the Middle School Review is not over.


What’s Next?

We have two primary next steps.


First, we will work with principals to examine what small adjustments they might be able to make to their schedules to bring us closer to a common experience. We predict that these will mostly show up as minor adjustments to existing schedules that get us one or two small steps toward consistency.


Second, we will continue to work toward the great schedules that folks are asking for. We expect that in order to align all of the details of staffing, space, workload, and budget this will take an additional year or two of continued research and planning. The feedback clearly showed a preference for taking our time and doing this well, and we intend to honor that feedback.


Many of these potential changes will need to be discussed in collaboration with the BEU. We will be working with the existing Joint Labor Management Committee (JLMC) to examine the workload implications of intervention, student choice, and increased SEL curriculum. This collaboration will help ensure that the changes are implemented in a thoughtful and measured way to staff, families, and students.