Strategic Summit: Schedule and Calendar Committee weighing options for a permanent schedule

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth installment in a series about the school’s Strategic Summit initiative. The Strategic Summit is focused on five areas of the school and seeks to understand how that area can improve. This week’s article concerns the Schedule and Calendar charter.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the administration instituted a block schedule for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years. This schedule change was made to promote safety and make the hyflex and quarantines run more smoothly. Now, two years into the pandemic, the school is looking to settle on a schedule for the longer term. The Schedule and Calendar committee’s job is to explore what that schedule might be.

The Schedule and Calendar committee is led by co-chairs Kate Toussaint (Department of Modern and Classical Languages) and Paul Baudendistel (Science), and includes Theology Department chair Jon Ott, school counselor Nina See, and math teacher Tracy Lyons.

“Our committee’s role really is to get feedback from the faculty, to research some other schools and what they're doing, and to try to develop both a schedule and a calendar that best enables us to fulfill our other goals,” said Ott.

The Schedule and Calendar committee meets biweekly, and they are currently tasked with proposing a schedule for the 2022-2023 school year. 

“Our task is to try to put together the best daily schedule and calendar that we can for next year,” said Baudendistel. “We know we have some inefficiencies in the schedule, which were born out of a pandemic, so it's totally understandable.”

The committee is focused on providing a framework for the various academic and extracurricular pursuits that take place on a daily basis, and even outside of school hours.

“ I'm excited because I think there's a lot of really fun things we can do for our schedule,” said Toussaint. “To add space to breathe, to do cool things to deepen our understanding of our subjects. To have time to work on our clubs and activities, those things are so central to SLUH. There's so many interesting, integral parts of our curriculum, and our schedule is kind of like it's holding it all together.”

In order to begin gathering information to form a cohesive, helpful schedule, the committee has been conducting listening sessions for teachers and students to offer their perspectives.

“We've offered probably a dozen opportunities for faculty to come and share their thoughts about the schedule in the calendar,” said Lyons. “They can come in, and we take notes of what they're saying, things that they like about our current block schedule, things they liked about our old seven-period schedule, things they don't like about one thing or the other.”

This range of differing opinions will be taken into account to provide the school with a schedule and calendar that has the  support of the broader SLUH community. 

“Hopefully we're casting a wide enough net that every voice is heard,” said Baudendistel. “We know that not everybody's going to be 100 percent happy with what we come up with. So again, my take on it is a utilitarian sort of model. Let's come up with the best schedule for the most people.”

“So there might be some compromises on things just because we're doing what we think is best for the fact that this is a schedule for academic classes to happen in,” said Lyons.

As listening sessions continue, the calendar and schedule will start to take shape.

“We're hopeful to finish these listening sessions over Christmas break to early January. We hope to come up with two or three schedules, see what faculty and students and administrators think about them,” said Baudendistel. “Then we know we're not going to have a perfect schedule, but the goal is, again, the best schedule we can have for the next academic year.”

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