- In Virginia, the high-performing Arlington County district has embarked on a shift from period to block scheduling in middle school, and parents feel left out of the decision-making process.
- Columnist Jay Mathews writes for The Washington Post that parents worry music and language instruction will be hurt if students only get those classes every other day, and schools considering the change seem to have skipped over whether it’s a good idea and gone on to how best to implement it.
- At the district level, there is support for block scheduling because of its potential to allow for greater personalized learning opportunities and small group instruction, but research is mixed on whether block or period scheduling is better for students.
Schools today are exploring a range of innovative new models to improve instruction and student achievement, and many parents are finding it hard to keep up. Unsupportive parents can torpedo efforts for positive change, and schools need to make sure communication procedures are considered early on in any planning process. Parents should get detailed and convincing explanations about why new changes were originally considered and ultimately decided on.
Proposals that recommend a stark shift from the way parents themselves were educated are often the most scrutinized. Few people find it easy to embrace the unfamiliar. That is why communication efforts should not be left as an afterthought. Getting stakeholder buy-in is critical for long-term success. And besides parents, teachers should be approached for early input.