For classroom educators, the issue of time in school is more complex than simply extending the daily schedule or changing the annual calendar. Those factors are significant, but what ultimately matters is how we use the time in school to the greatest benefit of our students. Recognizing that classroom educators possess the practical experience to envision the most creative, thoughtful and meaningful solutions on how to utilize time in school issue, the National Education Association invited its members in seven states to envision how they would restructure time in school to best meet the needs of today’s students.
If you could redesign the school structure to best fit the needs of your students at this moment of rapid change, what would the school day, week and year look like?
NEA invited its members in seven states — Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Washington — to participate in this VIVA Idea Exchange. A total of 348 members posted 145 ideas and shared 348 comments with one another.
“For me, the idea to get teacher voices from multiple perspectives and experiences to influence education policy is transformational,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “The length of year may be part of the answer, but what do we do from the first to the last day of a student’s experience? The ideas and decisions have to be generated by the expertise and thoughts of teachers in the classroom.”
- Develop educational program recommendations that integrate with a revised school calendar to promote increased teacher collaboration.
- Group students by ability, not by age, to create an academic environment in which they are more likely to succeed.
- Lengthen the school day and the school year.
- Restructure the school day so that activities and instructional time take place when it is developmentally appropriate for elementary, middle and high schools.
- Enable local school districts to provide equitable and ample resources and make better use of existing resources to address their diverse needs.
- Revise federal policies to better support a balance of strong local control policies with civil rights and equity for all students.
- Conduct a campaign to promote awareness of the importance of reforming the school calendar.