All secondary principals, assistant principals, and counselors are charged with building a master schedule for their school. Do you have a team? Do you put students or adults first in your system? What is your process? Who helps you build this jigsaw puzzle that can fall apart?
When I first began in education, the principal handed the keys to the counselor and no one saw her for two weeks. I saw this at a few schools, then I became the principal. I realized I had no training and didn’t want to throw it on my counselor’s back with no help. I knew the adults in the building would be “upset” at her if they did not get the schedule they want.
We changed the process and made it work for us after taking a team to training with a guy we will call “Ed”. We made it a leadership team process where we invited teachers to help so they could see we weren’t just placing classes on the board anymore. Transparency was important to us, but not many teachers wanted to put in the time to help due to many teaching responsibilities. We made sure to take course selections and allow teachers to know that students drive the courses and the singletons, doubletons, and multiple sections drive the number of sections and placement. Using the conflict matrix and system, this became a challenge our team enjoyed, because it was about students not adults anymore.
We have applied a “growth mindset” as we try to make the process better each year. When we decided to go Flex Mod, collaborating with River Bluff High School was key to our growth. One of our teacher leaders helped the year before and he knew there had to be a more efficient way. Blackhawk Flex software was born because of his dedication, and we used it to be more efficient and cleaner this year! Due to hard work of our counselors, master teachers, and dedicated teachers, our schedule was a challenge but something we all enjoyed working on together.
As I move on from my current role as principal, I’m proud to have built a team oriented, student-driven schedule system and a team that can sustain the success!