Academics

Academic Schedule

Academic Schedule

At LJCDS, our educators are often thinking about how to improve our students’ educational experience. What is the preferred method of learning? How can we better prepare them for college and for life? After much research and discussion, LJCDS opted for a different approach to the traditional Monday through Friday schedule. Middle and Upper School students follow a seven-day rotating block schedule that encourages student learning and offers room for diverse student experiences in academics, arts, athletics and co-curriculars.

Students have no more than four core classes a day, and the schedule rotates over a seven-day cycle. No more dreading Mondays because it’s the most packed day of the week. The schedule provides opportunities for in-class learning, online learning, internships and other spaces beyond the classroom where students advance personal skills like responsibility and reliability.

Elements and Benefits

List of 7 items.

  • Longer Class Periods

    75-minute class periods favor in-depth learning and allows teachers to divide instructional time with collaboration or independent learning. This offers more active student engagement during class.

  • Deeper Connections

    More opportunities for teachers to connect with students during class time and outside of the classroom. Students have more time during class with longer class periods to ask for help. Fewer classes in a day also allows more time for individual assistance.

  • Seven-Day Rotation

    Schedule is no longer tied to the days of the week, so when there is a day off, classes resume with the next day in the cycle, and no sections are at a disadvantage in having less class time.

  • Preparing for College

    Students learn how to use discretionary time and are taught to develop ownership of their schedule and time. This developmental model teaches students how to use time wisely and effectively.

  • Activity/Brain Breaks

    Middle Schoolers have two breaks a day to maximize learning. Research shows breaks increase focus and enable students to absorb more material. Students choose how they spend their breaks and can range from playing outside to eating a snack with friends to playing games in the Middle School office to reading books.

  • Wellness

    Fewer classes per day are shown by substantial research to decrease stress. The school day becomes less stressful for both students and teachers and alleviates homework stress.

  • Flex Time

    The Middle and Upper School will also benefit from a new “flex time” block in the rotation, which allows for exploratory, student-driven activities that are not attached to a grade. Flex Time gives students the opportunity to engage in thoughtful, intellectual exploration of themes and experiences that do not fit within our traditional academic curriculum. Students explore and extend their passion while adding dimension to their college transcript.

    Middle School examples include Science Olympiad, writing workshop, math games, community building and life skills.

    Upper School examples include LJCD-TV, Screening and Scoring Films, Cryptography, Model United Nations, and Meme Creation and Culture.

A Thoughtful Approach

Over the course of the 2015–2016 and 2016–2017 academic school years, a small group of Middle School, Upper School, arts and athletics faculty and administrators formed a Scheduling Task Force to investigate the possibility of aligning the Middle and Upper Schools’ daily schedule and seek a greater connection between the two divisions. The committee surveyed current students and faculty, examined current research, consulted peer schools through the INDEX network, analyzed various school schedules and connected with colleagues from schools across the country.