New Schedule to Provide Greater Flexibility

Rutgers Prep is in a state of constant innovation. One example of our commitment to continual improvement can be found in our plan to roll out a new daily schedule in our Middle and Upper Schools in the coming academic year.

After reviewing the current schedule and talking about what we would ideally want from a new schedule, we drafted three different possible models and established a goal of having a new schedule in place for the 2016-17 school year. The schedule that was ultimately chosen was approved by a committee of faculty members from both the Middle School and Upper School faculty. Schedule Committee Chair Mark Nastus reports going into the process with a sense of confidence, “I thought that the faculty would do a good job of working through the pros and cons of each model, and I trusted that they would pick the model that would best serve our community. And I think it will be great to have the Middle and Upper schools more closely connected!”

Because this will be the first time that Rutgers Prep’s Middle and Upper School schedules have been completely aligned, some of the most obvious benefits of the new schedule will be greater opportunities for cross-divisional collaboration on the part of our faculty. There will also be more opportunities for student-to-student connection and mentoring across the divisions, which we are very much looking forward to taking advantage of. And we expect that as a result of their immersion in the shared schedule, Middle School students will have an increased level of comfort when making the transition of becoming Upper School students.

The Middle School will in turn be able to offer some supplemental opportunities beyond their traditional academic program, including STEAM-focused programming and opportunities for community service. The new schedule maintains the Middle School PE and sports block at the end of the day. Robert Marotto, Middle School Principal, shared, “The new schedule gives us time to try new activities while preserving academic classes that the students already value and enjoy. We’re excited to plan our school days in the new schedule.”

Band, Madrigals, and Orchestra will not conflict with the Upper School academic program, which means that students who were unable to continue with music due to scheduling constraints will now no longer be faced with having to choose between music and another desired subject.

Upper School Principal Joe Chodl says, “The new schedule is a rotating schedule with some longer class bands, which we hope will help moderate the pace of the school day and give students and faculty an opportunity to engage subjects in greater depth and breadth. In some ways, the time management skills that students will be encouraged to develop as a result of the new schedule are similar to the time management skills they’ll need to be successful in college.”

In the Upper School, we’re going from seven periods to eight, but every student will have at least one study hall period… again as a way to protect against stress. Students in the Upper School will have daily unscheduled community time which we are confident they’ll make good use of in true Argonaut fashion.

“Our schedule design is driven largely by student choice, so while we cannot anticipate fully how this will play out until our students have made their course selections, I am confident that this schedule will help us reduce conflicts in students’ course rosters, which of course would be a great thing. Because we offer such a rich diversity of classes, there will likely always be some conflicts, but even if we’re just looking at the dedicated time for music it’s clear that students will be able to access more of the wonderful classes our faculty offer,” said Mr. Domanski, the Academic Dean in charge of Upper School scheduling and registration.

We are looking forward to what we think will be a positive change for the Rutgers Prep community.