YORK SCHOOL'S NEW SCHOOL SCHEDULE
- Supports student health and well-being
- Ensures a variety of high-quality learning experiences
- Provides a balance of robust arts, athletics, and academics
- Increases collaboration, student support, and social emotional learning
A robust, research-driven process
York’s new school schedule will be implemented for the 2020-2021 school year after a robust 16 month process of research and design led by the School’s schedule committee in collaboration with the faculty and the student body. Informed by a convergence of research on how adolescents best learn and mature, the schedule bolsters student success and student wellness.
A school schedule delivers its mission: We inspire and prepare a diverse community of creative, independent thinkers.
To view student sample schedules, please click here.
Mission-driven and Guided by our Values
The new school schedule supports and delivers York’s mission. In designing the new schedule, our process was guided by the following values:
Student health and wellbeing
- The new schedule prioritizes sleep (8:30 start time), a rotation of classes in the schedule, PATH advisory, study periods, Health & Fitness offerings, music and arts during the day.
A balance of process and content-oriented learning experiences
- The new schedule features both longer periods emphasizing process and shorter periods emphasizing content in accordance with recommendations from educational research.
The Importance of Arts, Academics, and Athletics
- The new schedule ensures all academic experiences, such as visual and music ensembles as well as core courses, occur during the day; Health & Fitness activities meet in the day as well as after school; there is sufficient time for inclusive, competitive sports after school.
- The new schedule prioritizes collaboration time by minimizing conflicts for department meetings, faculty meetings, grade-level meetings, tutorial time, and club meetings.
Advantages of the New Schedule
- Paces the day and the year
- Is student-centered
- Allows time frames to flex to the needs of the students and both the academic and co-curricular programs
- Promotes team communication and collaboration
- Boosts the health of students
- Facilitates support for students by teachers
- Provides time for informal and formal community gatherings
- Reduces the number of transitions within a day
We believe a schedule delivers a school’s mission and a great school should revisit its schedule every decade or so. In its sixty years, York has changed its schedule several times, the last being in 2012. This current process recognizes adolescents in the 21st century need a schedule designed for how they best learn and grow, one that supports their preparation to be positive, productive citizens. We wanted a new schedule that supports meaningful, substantive interaction between faculty and students and to further incorporate time for non-academic activity during the school day.
York recognizes that adolescence is a critical time in a student’s maturation. Our new schedule promotes students’ wellness in a number of ways, including reducing stress and anxiety; providing opportunities for coping with stress; creating opportunities to engage in joyful experiences with peers and teachers; reducing homework load; providing more time to complete homework and study during the day; providing opportunity to experience music in between other academic classes; ensuring a balance of activities; increased time for sleep, personal time, down time and family time.
Research tells us that adolescent brains literally grow, or undergo positive changes, during social interactions. We also know that social-emotional intelligence and awareness are essential to success in the 21st century. Our new schedule allows students dedicated time for clubs, allowing for deepening interactions around mutual interests, as well as time to practice leadership skills. Maintaining PATH, our advisory period, as an opportunity to go deeply into discussions on topics of character, ethics, life skills, and goal setting rose to the top of the priorities list for both students and faculty. We are especially pleased that all students will have ample free periods during which they can engage in group work, meet with teachers, work independently, or simply chat with friends. Through this experience, students will have the opportunity to develop time management skills that will serve them well in college. In addition, they will have room for more essential personal time, down time, and family time later in the day, as well as the kind of social time that builds brain power.
A convergence of sleep research recommends that schools start their day no earlier than 8:30 am. The new schedule ensures all academic and co-curricular activities start no earlier than 8:30. Meanwhile, this start time also supports the diversity of commute times for our families that travel from neighborhoods across three counties in the greater Monterey Bay area.
Almost half of York’s student body participates in York’s robust music program and its five ensembles: Chamber Choir, Choir, Jazz Band, Band, and Strings. By meeting inside the daily rotation, students can experience the benefits of participating in a collaborative music ensemble in between their other rigorous courses. A rotation of meetings also allows more ensembles the utilization of our wonderful music room, vocalists the opportunity to warm-up their voices and sing at different times throughout the day, and students who wish to be both vocalists and instrumentalists more options to participate in multiple ensembles. Additionally, students will be able to experience an artistic break in their academic day and participate in a collaborative music ensemble, which we believe will develop the musical talents of our students in a meaningful way.
As a reflection of best-practices in schedule design, York has offered a rotation of classes for decades. We added an eighth day to our previous seven-day rotation to increase opportunities for music and other academic experiences. A rotation ensures variety in terms of when an individual class meets during the eight-day cycle. That variety is good for student focus and engagement. It also ensures that students who must leave a class at the end of the day for trips or sports do not miss the same class all the time. Likewise, if a student is more of a morning person or more of an afternoon person, a rotation provides equity. Meanwhile, meeting times are consistent to provide predictability and structure.
York students are engaged, motivated teenagers who wish to challenge themselves and succeed. Therefore, we recognize the variety and depth of activities each student experiences in any given school day. The new schedule helps students to manage their academic and extracurricular activities by reducing the number of class periods per day, creating time for increased depth of study and preparation, such as homework completion during the day as well as tutorial and collaboration time. The new schedule takes considerable steps to create a healthier daily pace to mitigate and moderate student stress while strengthening our academic and co-curricular programs.
York recognizes that students learn best through a variety of creative teaching methods, activities, and assessments. We aim to inspire excellence by instilling curiosity in students and guiding them to become critical thinkers and problem solvers. Therefore, our new schedule provides a variety of class meeting times, including a consistency of meeting periods inside the rotation as well as increased opportunities for deeper, process-oriented classes.
A welcoming, engaging community is a signature feature of the York experience. For decades, rituals such as Break and club meetings have provided opportunities for relationship building and a greater sense of connection and purpose. The new community time enhances space and time for Break, clubs, and other school activities to take place. It is also another opportunity for students to meet with teachers or to collaborate with peers on a group project.
Timing for Break remains the same, though because passing periods are included, the schedule reflects a fifteen minute Break. Break occurs four times per cycle, meeting every other day. Club announcements will be made only when a club is holding a special event. Break will include Sophomore Speeches, occasional presentations (Chinese New Year, Punmeister, etc.), celebratory announcements (sports scores, Valedictorian, awards, etc.), and messages for the good of the community. We will expect that announcements are limited to no more than 2 minutes in length.
Clubs have 40 minute meeting times on A and E days. The E day segment is a dedicated period with no conflicts. Clubs whose central purpose is social interaction will meet at lunch. Every club will have a designated time slot. All students will be involved in a community building activity during club meeting times.
Possible club meeting schedule:
A and E days
Model United Nations
Hispanic Heritage Club
Asian Culture Club
All meetings are included during Community Time. Student Council has requested a meeting schedule intentionally designed to improve the feedback loop. Therefore, Executive Student Council and General Student Council will meet during the second (40 minute) segment on A days and G days, respectively, and Class Meetings during the first (15 minute) segment on H days.
Tutorials are important, flexible meeting times that allow students to receive support from teachers. This time may also be used for collaborative work, individual work, or as frees. Any student determined by the class dean to require extra support may be required to attend tutorial time.
Tutorials are scheduled opposite some music ensembles. Students in a music ensemble have the option of attending tutorials that do not conflict with that ensemble. Students not in these ensembles have the option of attending the scheduled departmental tutorial time.
Tutorials are scheduled specifically by department as follows:
B days - Humanities and Languages
D days - Math and Sciences
F days - open tutorials with any teacher not engaged in the grade level meeting
H days - open tutorials for any student not engaged in Student Council
York recognizes that physical activity is a vital part of living a healthy life that is good for the body and the brain. To that end, we provide opportunities for safe activities for students who are not on an athletic team through supervised health and fitness. York’s new schedule will provide opportunities for Health & Fitness to meet during the day and at the end of the school day. It is York’s expectation that all students sign up for athletics, Health & Fitness, or another activity approved by the Health & Fitness coordinator.
PATH, our advisory period, allows for social-emotional education. It will meet on C days during Community Time. Class meetings are a time for students to meet with their Class Dean, developing leadership skills and extending communication to each grade level. They will meet on H days during Community Time.
York teachers demonstrate a passion for learning by keeping current in their respective disciplines, and they seek opportunities for interdisciplinary projects and collaboration with colleagues. Our new schedule incorporates morning faculty meetings on Wednesdays in support of our commitment to continuous improvement. On late start days, students are provided additional time for sleep, study, collaboration and personal appointments.