- Unlocking Time announced Wednesday the release of a free assessment tool that can help school leaders identify where learning time is spent so they can hold conversations to determine whether current schedules best optimize and align that time with school and district priorities.
- The assessment tool, which has already been piloted in several schools, was created through Unlocking Time, an initiative of school scheduling software developer Abl, and was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
- The tool asks teachers and school staff members to take a 10-minute survey, which it uses to generate an “Insight Report” that helps school personnel better understand where their school time is allocated and how school calendars, bell schedules, class schedules and staff time might be changed to produce better results.
Though funding for schools may vary greatly, the one resource all have in equal measure is time. While there are a variety of school schedules available, not all school schedules fit every situation. The Unlocking Time assessment tool allows schools to better understand how their time is spent so discussions about the best use of time can begin, as a sample report indicates.
In recent years, schools have begun to rethink traditional school schedules to find ways to maximize student learning experiences in ways that are more time-effective and engaging. Some schools are exploring increasing school hours while others are looking at innovative scheduling approaches. Others are rethinking the notion of bell schedules altogether.
Whatever scheduling options school leaders consider, they ultimately have to put the needs of students foremost. However, the possibility of teacher and principal burnout also needs to be factored in. Balancing the needs of students and faculty with the time and effort that learning requires calls for much thought and discussion. But discovering how that time is currently being spent is the best place to start.