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West Belden's Extended core content blocks and planning time

Scheduling to create more time and flexibility

Overview

West Belden has structured the schedule to allow for more time for learning and planning. They accomplish this in two ways:

  • Extended content blocks: core content such as ELA, Math, and STEM are often provided in large blocks (approximately 2 hours) on multiple days throughout the week. Longer periods provide more flexibility for educators to differentiate both content and instructional delivery. Multiple methods can be used within the same block, such as: large group instruction, small group instruction, 1 on 1 interactions, and independent learning time. Shorter content blocks often constrain educators to only working with one or two groups per period, but West Belden’s extended time allows educators to go deep with a larger number of students on the same day.
  • Daily planning time by combining lunch and enrichment: West Belden combines their lunch and enrichment time to create 90-105 minutes of common planning time each day. This extended time allows teachers to meet with other teachers by content area (ex. Math or STEM), grade level (ex. 1st grade), and within multi-grade ranges (ex. 1st-3rd) throughout the week. Since there is a high degree of overlap among teachers and students, teachers thoroughly benefit from meeting with other teachers. The extended time allows them to review data together, share reflections on how students performed in previous days, adjust student learning paths as needed, share their lesson plans, and look for cross-curricular opportunities.