No Child Left Behind: Is it About Time? Elementary Scheduling Practices in the Commonwealth of Virginia Since the Authorization of NCLB
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Time, the one educational resource educators desire most, is so often in short supply in America 's schools. The ability of the school administrator to schedule teachers' and students' time so that both groups can maximize opportunities for teaching and learning each day has become an essential skill. Changing the structure of the school day to extend learning opportunities requires that administrators, teachers, and students have a firm commitment and clear understanding of the educational resources and processes of time. Successful practices regarding the use of time include: (a) careful planning and design, (b) adequate staff preparation and training, (c) effective use of extended time, and (d) a focus on equal access for students to multiple learning opportunities. Schools are under enormous pressure to show, through improved test scores, that they are providing every student with a thorough and efficient education. A review of the literature on alternative scheduling practices that use specified and structured blocks of learning time, focuses, overwhelmingly, on high school alternative scheduling models. However, there is a paucity of current research on the effects of alternative scheduling practices on elementary school cultures even though the elements of one particular method, parallel block scheduling, have been employed for over 30 years in elementary schools. This lack of research points to the necessity of exploring the benefits of alternative scheduling practices for delivery of instruction as well as changes in elementary school scheduling since the implementation of the No Child Left Behind mandate.
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