Coffee Talk - Omaha Westside

Today a group of teachers got together and heard about the Omaha Westside school visit:

  • Every 25 minutes there is a shift
  • 18 mods in a day - most kids have 14 mods in classes
  • Other mods are like Liberty Hour where students can go to departments to work and meet with a teacher
  • During plan time teachers are also available to assist students
  • Person in charge of the schedule full time
  • Have had this format since the 1960s
  • Comparative to the size of LHS, but includes more staff 
  • Each teacher team (content team) sits down and decides how they meet with students - ie this class might meet as a bigger block of time once a week (2-3 mods) and then individual mods throughout the week where they meet with students. For instance, two mods would be 50 minutes
  • Importance of teacher teams being collaborative to make decisions about course design and support of students that may not necessarily be assigned to you
  • Set up similar to college credit system where students have to earn a certain number in order to graduate
  • Five-day rotation for students and they had to keep track of where they needed to be weekly
  • Hallways are carpeted so the building is very quiet
  • Students are out and about
  • Each pod has an assistant/para to do all make-up tests, etc
  • IMC Study Centers (image above) - tables where students could work without you and teacher desks were all interwoven so you could see students and teachers working together, or groups of students working together
  • Minimal bells throughout the day
    • The system was pretty complex and it takes some of the younger students to catch on 
    • Were assigned during the IMC times where you could meet with small groups of students
    • Opportunity for students to develop agency over their time and how to use the open mods 

    Next Year 
    • We will continue to study personalization and scheduling opportunities
    • Excelsior Springs - will be going modular schedule 2017-2018 and we will likely be going to visit and see how they have applied these concepts. Excelsior Springs learned from Monet, MO which also went to Westside. It will be great to see how these concepts are applied in different ways!
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