Schedule Change FAQ

List of 15 frequently asked questions.

  • What time does school start and end?

    • In the Lower School, students will be dropped off between 8 and 8:15 am in the morning.  Morning meetings in the homerooms will begin at 8:15 am.  Students will continue to end their day at 3:15 pm, as in our current schedule.
    • In the Middle School, unless a student has a morning rehearsal (which starts at 7:30 am), drop off will be between 8:15 and 8:30 am.  Middle School advisory begins at 8:30 am.  The school day will end at 3:45 pm.
    • In the Upper School, students who are not in morning rehearsals will report to their first class at 8:30 am.  Academic classes will conclude at 3:35 pm.
  • How will the new schedule impact carpool routines?

    Lower School Carpool: 8:00 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.
    Middle School Carpool: 8:15 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.

    All cars must enter the Lower and Middle School carpool lanes from West Alabama (Gate 9) for morning and afternoon carpool. The safest and easiest entry into the chute off W. Alabama is from the west bound side (right turn). The HPD officer directing traffic will use his or her discretion on allowing east bound traffic (left turns) into the chute.
    When entering the Lower and Middle School carpool, the driver proceeds through the chute and up to the carpool-loading zones. Lower School parents will stay to the right in the chute, and Middle School parents will stay to the left. If you have both Lower and Middle School students in your carpool, please default to the Lower School drop-off area. Drivers may not leave the car. When exiting the LS and MS during Carpool, vehicles are required to make a right turn onto Buffalo Speedway.
    If you need to drop off your child before 8:00 a.m., Lower School students will be allowed to join a monitored study hall in the LS Cafeteria starting at 7:30 a.m. Middle School students will be allowed on campus, even if not in rehearsal, starting at 7:30 a.m.
    Upper School Carpool 8:15 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.

    During the 2016-2017 school year, Gate 1 will be the entrance to the Upper School carpool. Parents are asked to proceed to the circle for drop-off. Please have the student ready to exit in a prompt and orderly fashion. No unattended vehicles will be permitted during carpool. Please do not drop students off on Claremont or in the surrounding neighborhood. The exit from Gate 1 during carpool will be a right-turn-only onto Claremont. Upper School students will be allowed on campus, even if not in rehearsal, starting at 7:00 a.m.
    Upper School student drivers will have the opportunity to park in the Caven lot at the corner of W. Alabama and Buffalo Speedway until the new parking garage is completed. The School will provide a shuttle that will run from the lot to the Upper School campus. 
  • What if I need to drop off my student before 8:00/8:15 a.m.?

    The school will allow students to be dropped off at school before the start of the day.  
    • Lower School students will be allowed to join a monitored study hall in the Lower School Cafeteria starting at 7:30 am.
    • Middle School students will be allowed to be on campus, even if not in rehearsal, starting at 7:30 am.
    • Upper School students will be allowed on campus, even if not in rehearsal, starting at 7:00 am.
  • Can students come later if their first period is a study hall/free period?

    At this time we are requiring all students to arrive at 8:30 am every day.
  • Is this a block schedule?

    No, this is not a block schedule.  Block schedule means many different things to many different institutions. Our periods are not long enough to qualify as blocks, which are typically 1.5 hours per class or longer. Our new schedule does recognize the need for longer classes in order to achieve deeper learning and builds in adequate downtime in between academic courses to allow for the brain to rest, for students to relax with their friends, to get homework done, or to meet with teachers as needed.  The new schedule will better prepare them to manage their time.

  • Will longer periods be used for longer lectures?

    No.  We are working across the school to address important pedagogical and curricular changes to create optimal learning conditions for our students.  The addition of regular professional development time for both Middle and Upper School faculty will help move the needle and push our faculty to be innovative and student-centered in their class design.

  • What about test days?

    The Middle and Upper School divisional administration will work to ensure that students are not taking too many tests within a day.
  • My child is very involved in an outside sport/theater/dance activity. Can the Upper School schedule be arranged so that the last period is always a study hall/free period?

    Given the rotational nature of the courses in our new schedule, we are unable to create an individual student schedule with uniform free periods or study halls that occur during the last period of the school day.
  • Will teachers give assignments on days that classes don’t meet?

    No, teachers may only assign homework on the days that classes meet.  Divisional administration will oversee this. We anticipate that students will spend less time on homework in the evenings, fostering a better balance between school work and family life.
  • Will Upper School students be in study halls during free periods?

    The current plan is for 9th grade students to continue having supervised study halls during the periods when they don’t have academic classes.  Our current model allows 10th-12th grade students to study or take a break in designated areas around campus during their off time.

    The Upper School Administration will continue to evaluate this system to see what best serves our students.  

    We hope to provide opportunities for students to meet with their teachers and peers, to study, to rest and play, to exercise, and to eat during the time that they are on-campus and not in class.

  • Are tutorials limited to the times shown on the schedule?

    No. While the schedule reflects the times when faculty are required to be available for extra help, students are free to arrange meetings with teachers  at other times of the day, such as during a study hall, at lunch, or after school.  This has been and will continue to be the case.
  • Upper School Lunch is much later. What if students get hungry?

    There will be many options for students to eat prior to the 1 pm lunch time:  the co-curricular period mid-morning, breaks when students are not in class (60/80 minute breaks), the Maverick Café which is open from early in the morning through the late afternoon, and extended serving hours in our dining room.
  • Why build in days in the Middle School without athletics?

    Students need a break from the long afternoon commitments that they face in our current schedule.  We need to bring a better balance to the academic, athletic, and fine arts programs within the Middle School curriculum.  There will, however, be a recess period everyday for Middle School students.  While students may have games on non-practice days, this will not be the routine.

  • What other independent day schools have schedules with longer academic periods?

    Looking only at independent day schools, you will find that many, many schools have days with longer periods than our traditional 45-minute classes, including (but not limited to):
    • Belmont Hill School, MA
    • Chadwick School, CA
    • Charlotte Country Day School, NC
    • Collegiate School, VA
    • Durham Academy, NC
    • Georgetown Day School, DC
    • Hawken School, OH
    • Lakeside School, WA
    • Mary Institute Country Day School, MO
    • Montclair-Kimberly Academy, NJ
    • Norfolk Academy, VA
    • Pace Academy, GA
    • Porter-Gaud School, SC
    • Rowland Hall, UT
    • Sidwell Friends School, DC
    • St. Paul Academy and Summit School, MN
    • The Blake School, MN
    • The Bryn Mawr School, MD
    • The Francis Parker School, CA
    • The Greenhill School, TX
    • The Lovett School, GA
    • The Pingry School, NJ
    • The Westminster Schools, GA
    • Trinity School, NYC
    • University School of Milwaukee, WI
    • University School of Nashville, TN
    • William Penn Charter School, PA
  • My 8th grader was invited to attend the Upper School schedule change session, but my 5th grader was not invited to attend the Middle School session. Why were they treated differently?

    The decision to do this was intentional on the part of the Administration and is developmentally appropriate. The 8th graders have already toured the Upper School and are better able to comprehend these changes that will take place next year.  Our current 5th graders have little to no knowledge of our current schedule, and, as such, does not have a basis for comparison between the old and the new designs.  This also makes it harder for a current Class 5 student to internalize a presentation about changes for the coming year. Both parents and students will learn more about life as a 6th grader at transition meetings later this spring.