Types of Bell Schedules Used in Charter Schools

Scheduling is naturally an important topic for charter school students and parents alike, and bell schedules are a key element here. Did you know that there are actually several different formats or alignments that charter schools and other schools use for bell schedules these days? 

At Summit Academy, our bell schedules vary between different grade levels and programs, and we'll be happy to discuss them with parents as needed. What are some of the common bell schedule types you may find in charter or other school programs, and what are their pros and cons? Here's a simple rundown.

Basic Periods

The most common type of bell schedule is the basic period format. This consists of a series of classes, usually between six and eight in length, with each class lasting around 40-60 minutes.

The biggest advantage to this format is its simplicity - it's easy to understand and follow for both students and teachers alike. On the downside, it can make for some long days for the students, and it doesn't provide for much flexibility in terms of scheduling.

Modular Schedules

Another popular type of bell schedule is the modular format. This consists of a series of shorter classes that are typically around 20-30 minutes long. Modular schedules offer more flexibility than basic period schedules, as they allow for different combinations of classes to be taken in a given day.

The advantage of this format is that it allows for more diverse and varied learning experiences, as students can mix-and-match classes according to their individual needs or interests. The downside to this type of schedule is that it can require more organization from both students and teachers, as the class combinations change daily.

Rotating Period Schedule

In this format, students attend all the same classes every day - but the order in which they are taken rotates on a daily or weekly basis. This can be an excellent way to ensure that students have enough time to master the material in each class - since it provides for more consistent instruction and review.

The downside to this format is that it may not offer enough variety for some students, as the same classes are repeated over a period of several days. Additionally, this type of schedule can also be difficult to keep track of - as the order and combination of classes may change frequently.

A/B Blocking

Another style that's become more popular in recent years is A/B blocking. This type of bell schedule is divided into two distinct groups - Group A and Group B. Each group will attend separate classes on alternating days, allowing for more diverse learning experiences than basic period or modular schedules might offer.

In the A/B blocking format, classes tend to be longer - often double the length of classes in basic period or modular schedules. This can be beneficial, as it allows for more in-depth instruction and review of topics. The downside to this format is that it can require additional planning - both from students and teachers - in order to ensure that all necessary material is covered.

In addition, teachers in this format need to have strong tactics for combatting complacency or potential boredom with longer classes.

Modified Block Scheduling

In some cases, schools choose to combine the features of A/B blocking with those of a basic period or modular schedule. This type of bell schedule is known as modified block scheduling, and it can offer many benefits for students and teachers alike.

In this format, classes remain shorter but are combined into larger blocks. For example, in one day students may have four 90-minute classes, or two 90-minute classes and one 40-minute class. This type of schedule allows for more variety in learning experiences - while still providing enough time for instruction and review of material.

Which is Right for Your Child?

While bell schedule certainly won't be the only factor in your decision when it comes to selecting a school for your child, it can be an important one. Make sure you research schools carefully and understand the various bell schedule formats they offer - so that you can make the best decision possible for your child's needs.

Whether you opt for a basic period or modular schedule, A/B blocking, or modified block scheduling - be sure to also consider the overall benefits that each format may have on your child's learning. Remember, there is no single right answer - so be sure to take all factors into consideration when making your decision!

By having a better understanding of the different types of bell schedules available, you can make an informed decision about the school that's best for your child. With the right bell schedule, your child will be well positioned to benefit from an engaging and comprehensive learning experience!

For more here, or to get information on our bell schedules or any of our charter school programs for students in South Jordan, Sandy, Riverton and nearby areas, speak to our staff at Summit Academy today.