Meeting the Needs of Students and Staff through the High School Scheduling Process
Research indicates that creating a master schedule that enhances academic standards for students and increases professional development time for staff will improve the overall school environment. Personnel in one small school district in the northeastern United States needed more information as they worked to change the high school schedule. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to augment educators’ understanding of how to design and to implement master schedules that enhance student learning and improve professional development. The theory of constructivism informed this study. Research questions were designed to investigate elements that influenced the development of master schedules as well as ways in which time, student achievement, and staff development were embedded in the formation of a master schedule. Participants from 12 high schools in the region included the master schedulers and other administrators. Qualitative data sources included individual interviews with master schedulers and a focus group session with high school principals. A priori and open coding were used to support interpretive analysis of the data. Prominent themes included collaboration, influences, remediation, selection of process, desired changes, and the use of hybrid scheduling to meet the needs of students and teachers. Findings showed ways master schedulers used the master schedule as change agents by allowing time daily or periodically for remediation, staff development, mentoring, and activities. These periodic changes influenced the overall culture of the schools. Positive social change implications of this study are that schedule changes could improve the overall success of students, staff development delivery, and interactions among students and faculty.