Wow!! I was so fortunate to spend the day with my two administrators working on next year's schedule and teaching assignments. We spent the entire day locked in a room. First, we mapped out the current times we use for our PE rotation, lunch, and recess. Then we looked at surveys and what teachers reported.
Third grade expressed concerns across the board regarding having so many transition times. The kids were hard to get focused. Since our third graders take STAAR, our principals thought it would be a good idea to start with their schedule and work our way backwards. We put 3rd grade's PE rotation, lunch, and recess as late in the day as we could so that they would be able to teach math and reading in the morning with no interruptions. They were ecstatic!! They said it took a load off their backs when looking at next year. We were happy that they were happy!
Second grade didn't care for having PE rotation first (9:20). Since we were working backwards, we went to them next. We tried to align everyone's PE, lunch, and recess back to back to decrease transition time. Second grade ended up with a big block in the morning and a big block in the afternoon. They were not crazy about having so much teaching time in the afternoon, but were grateful for the big blocks since they team teach and grateful for a later PE.
First grade was next. We were rocking and rolling and doing so well. We planned first grade, with all specials in a row. Then we realized that 1st and 3rd would be on the playground at the same time, not good. We had to tweak 1st grade a little. They have some time before they go out to recess, but they were grateful to have a lot of time in the morning since their kids are smaller and don't work well at the end of the day.
Kindergarden and Pre-K were fairly easy. They took what was left. We gave them a bit more transition, instead of lumping all their specials in a row, because they are smaller and need to move a bit.
A huge challenge for us has always been our PE times. Our PE teacher also coaches tennis at the high school at the end of the day, so we have always had that to work around when we have been setting our schedule. Our principal called high school to see exactly what time she needed to be there, then we set our PE times accordingly. She was not so excited about her schedule, but our vice-principal told her we were working with the best interest of the children in mind and that was the end of that.
I love scheduling, so I was in Heaven all day. We accomplished so much through teamwork. Then the principals met with each team and presented the schedules. Everyone was positive and said it looked good. We'll see if they still feel that way after school starts and they've had a chance to experience it :)