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THE DAILY SCHEDULE IN THE HIGH SCHOOL.
The making of the daily schedule of classes is a problem of no mean importance. In fact, the solution of this problem requires much knowledge and skill on the part of an administrator. It not infrequently happens that an administrator loses the confidence of his teachers through an attempt to substitute a “sketched” daily schedule for one that should have been worked out in accordance with the best principles of schedule making. In such a case the principal is wasting much of the time of his teaching staff. It is therefore vital that the principal understand the principles underlying the construction of the daily schedule of classes.
An investigation of the literature on schedule making reveals the fact that very little has been written on this subject. This lack of material may be due to the too common belief that there is no best procedure to follow in solving the problem. Or it may be due to an impression that schedule making is a comparatively easy task. Anyone, however, acquainted with the problems of high-school administration is fully aware that the problem of schedule making is as complicated as any administrative problem. Some of the difficulties involved in solving this problem are revealed in the following set of questions relating to issues involved in building the daily schedule of classes.
1. Does the principal secure adequate information at any early date out of which to construct the daily program?
2. What determines the subjects and number of sections offered in the schedule? (a) Consolidation of subjects, requested by present and pro
spective students for their anticipated programs; or (6) Based on the experience of previous semesters or years; or
(c) Arbitrary assignment of subjects and sections.
(a) Pupils make their own selections; or
principal, grade principal, house principal, department
head, faculty advisor, and vocational counselor; or (c) Selections made by the home or legal guardians of the pupil.
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4. What provision is made for the lunch period of pupils and teachers ? (a) Single session ends so that pupils may go home for
lunch; or (6) Session is suspended for hours at noon so that all
pupils and teachers may lunch; or (c) Vacant periods are arranged so that pupils and teachers
may lunch while the school session continues; or (d) They lunch at home with a time allowance of min
utes; or (e) They lunch at school with a time allowance of — minutes. 5. How are vacant periods in a pupils' program provided for?
(a) No vacant periods in pupils' program; or
(d) No assigned place. 6. What is your method of avoiding conflicts? (a) By placing sections of the same subject in different
periods; or (6) By placing subjects for pupils of a grade in different
periods; or (c) By making out a program for each pupil and assigning
classes before the new term. 7. How are subjects placed with reference to teacher assignment?
(a) With no regard to teacher assignment; or
ject and course; or (c) So that vacant periods make a break in a teacher's program. 8. How are classes equalized ? (a) By assigning to classes the pupils indicated by the indi
vidual schedules before the new term; or (6) By shifting from class to class during the first days of the
term. 9. How is room assignment provided for?
(a) So that a teacher may have one room for all his sections; or (6) So as to allot rooms best fitted for certain subjects to those
subjects. 10. Do you take into account individual differences in pupils? (a) By assigning them to sections according to: Intelligence,
school grade, standing in subject matter, judgment of
teacher, or choice of career. 11. Have you a plan whereby the time of recitation for a section is changed from an early hour one day to a later hour on another day and vice versa?
Such questions if answered will reveal the extent to which a principal recognizes the existence of problems in the field of schedule making
HOW THE DAILY SCHEDULE IS MADE IN CERTAIN
The authors are indebted to certain high-school principals for giving detailed accounts of their actual procedure in schedule making. These were secured during the school year 1921–22. Among those submitted, the following are selected as offering many splendid suggestions to other principals:
Principal Thomas M. Dean, of the high school at Decatur, Ill., describes his system as follows:
In the Decatur high school we have 60 teachers. Sixty students help in the registration. The election of courses having been previously made, the students whose names begin with the letters A to M meet in the forenoon of the opening day of the first semester. Those whose names begin with the letter from N to 7 come in the afternoon. Vice versa for the second semester.
The programs are made out with the advisers. About two-thirds of the superior teachers of the school are advisers, and each one is responsible for 30 to 50 students. The program is made out in consultation with the teacher, and then the student passes to the corridor where are seated 60 students representing the 60 teachers. In the forenoon, when a class roll is half filled, the student is sent back to the adviser where a new program is made out, so that he may take the subject in another class.
In the afternoon the second group comes and the second half of the class is filled. At the end of the day each teacher is given his class roll, with a fairly accurate class list. The few remaining adjustments which have to be made. are made by the principal and the assistant principal. The adjustments that are necessary are caused by the unexpected students, or those coming in from outside of the system.
I may say this plan works very well and facilitates the making out of programs as far as the administration is concerned. If we were dealing with homogeneous grouping this might be a little more difficult but, on the other hand, if the advisers had the names of the students who are to be in the different classes the same plan would work.
Principal R. R. Cook, of the high school, Topeka, Kans., outlined his system as given below:
1. Pupil makes election of subject in consultation with faculty adviser by the end of the fourteenth week.
2. Office assistants check cards for mistakes, tabulate number of enrollments for each subject, and give totals to principal, fifteenth week.
3. From tabulations, the number of sections of each subject is determined by the principal and the program built by assigning subjects and sections to periods and teachers, sixteenth week. In assigning sections to periods, I avoid many conflicts in pupils' programs by first assigning subjects that continue
into the next semester to the same hour that they have been, then place new beginning subjects on the program at hours left vacant by subjects just completed.
4. Pupils' program cards, written by office assistants and principal, seventeenth to twentieth week, ready for use the first day of the new semester. One assistant tallies on large program sheet as others write pupils' programs, thus enabling them to equalize classes as they go. (Seldom necessary to do much equalizing of classes after this is done.)
5. We have five 60-minute periods with a 35-minute lunch period preceding the fourth class period for half the school and following the fourth period for the other half. The location of the fourth period determines the pupil's lunch time.
6. Incoming pupils' programs are made out at the same time as the others if they come from our own elementary schools. Such pupils make their election of subjects by the end of the fourteenth week in consultation with their school principals. Incoming pupils from outside the district meet the principal and complete their registration when they come.
7. Failures are disregarded until Thursday of the twentieth week. Adjustments of pupils' programs are made on Friday and Saturday.
8. On first day of new semester pupils make copy of new program in the rooms of their advisers, then go to classes for short periods. On the second day periods are held.
Principal E. P. Nutting, of the high school, Moline, Ill., gives the following method in high-school schedule making:
Our first step in making the program for the coming semester is to secure from all teachers a preliminay estimate of failures, number passing, and names dropped. A compilation of totals from these reports gives me the data needed for estimating number of sections in all subjects, except beginning electives. This report is secured at the beginning of the last month of the semester, and is a very accurate forecast.
Next I send out sheets of registration instructions to teachers of certain required subjects in each year of our course, and have them secure the registration of their students. In this way all the students of the school are reached, and all except the most irregular registrations are secured. The irregulars consult me, or my assistant, at the office as opportunity offers during the month.
By means of a large tally sheet the elective subjects are taken from the registration slips and accurate estimates of numbers in those classes secured.
I now build my general program, assigning sections to each teacher with due regard to number of preparations (usually 2), the spread of the load, preference in subjects, supplying study rooms, hall supervisors, etc.
The general program is now carefully checked over to see that the subjects of any one semester (1A, 2B, etc.) are so spread over our eight periods that conflicts and crowded sections are not likely to result.
We now transfer the subjects and names from the registration slips to the tops of student daily program cards, using abbreviations and letters (1B, 1A, etc.). These cards are then sorted into general groups 1A, 2B, 2A, etc. “ Irregular” cards are saved out for special attention by the office force, but the regular student sees that the card studies are spread over the card, so as to make a good program for the student and that no sections or lunch periods are overcrowded.
This work is completed by the end of the semester, so that revisions can be made for unexpected failure, or for change of elections due to failure.
These completed program cards are now copied, and the copies issued to the students the morning of the first day of the new semester. Sections meet that morning on a 10-minute schedule to get assignments, and regular work begins the second day.
There are 28 high schools in New York City, all of which have a similar method of working out their programs, due to the fact that there is a director of high-school organization in that city who dictates the policy to be followed in such problems. The authors secured a statement of the methods of the Washington Irving, Boys' High of Brooklyn, and the Flushing High School. The system used in New York is as follows: The administrative background into which the program fits is a system of set mid-term and final examinations (or better known in New York as regents') and a policy of making students' schedules, not on the basis of probabilities but on the basis of actual attainment—that is to say, the final execution of the program is delayed until every student's final rating in each subject is made and recorded.
However, the preparatory steps of creating the school programs are begun as early as the last week in April. The chairman of the program committee obtains figures showing total registration in each grade of each subject. On the basis of past performances, the probable registration for the succeeding term is calculated; division by the normal size of classes in each subject determines the number of sections.
Then the actual classes are determined by name in accordance with a definite numbering system, so arranged that physical training, around which the numbers rotate, is graded and is left unchanged throughout. Of course, at this point, mention need be made of the necessity of so adjusting the period numbers that every student program becomes possible. This problem is difficult where single classes are to be found.
The information as to the number of sections is then placed on a distribution sheet for each subject and given to the chairman of each department. He proceeds to distribute the classes to his teachers. The sheet is returned to the program committee and with it the chairman proceeds to plot the master program. This master schedule is the largest single item of program making. It plans every teacher schedule, subject schedule, and room schedule. It represents the entire school in every detail of its curricular activity.
All the information on the master program must be translated into a state of usefulness and intelligibility for the class officers and students, upon whom the duty devolves of actually forming the outlines of the student programs.
On the Tuesday following the week of examination (regent's week) every student is given his report card, showing his final standing.