Your school’s master schedule is an essential tool for aligning student learning with performance goals, driving instruction, and providing a roadmap to success. A well-crafted master schedule reflects your school’s vision and promotes rigorous, equitable opportunities for all learners. Your master schedule impacts the success of your school in every way— from culture and morale to discipline and academic success.

Completing an internal school master scheduling audit helps education leaders ensure the master schedule reflects the district’s vision and mission. It also enables leaders to make informed decisions about the allocation of resources and leverage the master schedule to improve instruction for student success. Collaborating with multiple departments within the district to build a data-driven, intentional master schedule not only increases productivity, but it also improves the educational experience for both students and staff.

So, where should you start and what do you talk about?

Below are some guiding questions to help you start the conversation with district stakeholders and begin the process of performing a comprehensive internal master scheduling audit.

  • Once course requests are acquired, what does the process entail?

  • Does your campus build master schedules based on the individualized needs of students each year?

  • How do your campus builders resolve conflicts in the master schedule?

  • How much time is spent during the spring semester for campus builders to complete the master schedule?

  • How many students have holes in their schedule or need changes at the beginning of the school year?

  • How do you provide ongoing professional development and support for your campus builders?

  • What is your process for scheduling special populations of students?

  • How does your current master scheduling process help identify staffing needs?

  • How does central office inspect each campus master schedule build and all staffing allocations to ensure they meet district expectations?

Highly successful school districts take time each year to audit this process to ensure a smooth and productive start to the new school year. Performing an internal school master scheduling audit will provide insight into your practices, processes, and programs. You will gain visibility into the student experience, deeply understand the data that drives your secondary schools, and enable strategic decision-making to improve outcomes for all students.

Designing an effective, student-centered master schedule is a yearlong process that should involve deep contemplation, planning, and decision-making. Having rich conversations with students, staff, and stakeholders throughout the year will help you build a master schedule that meets the unique needs of your school.

The eBook, 10 Months of Essential Questions to Guide Your Master Scheduling Process, provides a framework to guide your monthly discussions so you can create your best master schedule yet.

How do you ensure your master schedule maximizes instructional time to support your vision for student success while also reflecting the changing needs of both staff and students? Comment below!

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