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Agency report
Class schedule: new approaches in Minnesota schools

Extent: 8p. 153K, PDF 3.0
Description: Describes alternative schedules and calendars being adopted by schools in Minnesota and throughout the United States
Date: September 24, 1999
Subject(s): Education; Secondary education
Creator(s): Minnesota Planning (Agency). Critical Issues Team
Contributor: Jay Stroebel
Publisher: Minnesota Planning (Agency)
Contact: Andrew Koebrick, 651-201-2465; Web Coordinator / Librarian

Many Minnesota schools have adopted either block scheduling or year-round
education calendars to improve overall student achievement. Block scheduling gives teachers and students more time in each class period and focuses studentsí attention on fewer classes at a time; year-round education either increases the time students are in school or rearranges school days to make learning more continuous. In addition to improving student perfor-mance, other factors, such as reducing costs, have also motivated schools to adopt alternative schedules.


The concepts behind these schedules are rather simple, but implementing them can be much more complicated. The numerous configurations of both block scheduling and year-round education present both advantages and disadvantages. Several models of block scheduling try to resolve specific issues relating to Advanced Place-ment, music and foreign language classes, as well as the more ambiguous question of student attention spans. Various year-round education plans have been created to accommodate schools that wish to increase the number of instructional days, increase the capacity of their buildings, distribute instructional days more evenly over the calendar year, or all three of these

Studies of schools using these alternatives have shown some positive results, but like the traditional schedule, they may not meet the needs of all teachers and students equally well. Nonetheless, block scheduling and year-round education are growing in popularity, affecting an increasing number of Minnesota teachers and students.

Document contents:

  • Introduction
  • Growing support for alternative schedules
  • Redistributing class hours
  • Schools choose from many variations
  • How class structures compare
  • Study finds some advantages to block schedules
  • Extending and rearranging the school year
  • Four main categories of year-round schedules
  • Studies of year-round education show mixed results
  • Summary

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