Our Daily Schedule
In the fall of 2011, after three years of assessing the School’s schedule, including conducting student and parent surveys, having an external consultant evaluate our program, and multiple committees designing and redesigning our approach, Phoenix Country Day School began the school year with a decidedly student-centered daily academic schedule.
The schedule, implemented in both the Middle and Upper School, features fewer classes per day and longer class periods, simultaneously decompressing a previously jam-packed schedule while allowing longer class periods to focus on the depth of teaching and learning we value. Students take a robust academic course load, which is spread out over a seven-day rotation. Additionally, there are meaningful and substantive breaks between classes, which allow students proper time to relax, have a snack, connect with friends, teachers or advisors, engage in an enrichment activity, and prepare for the upcoming class.
Sample Weekly Middle School Schedule
In the years since the current schedule’s implementation, PCDS has evaluated its efficacy. Important metrics that highlight the success of the change include greater student participation in extra-curricular activities, decreased student stress and homework loads, increased student and faculty satisfaction with their academic experience, and fewer student absences. The students and faculty agree that the current daily academic schedule is best suited to a high-level academic environment that fosters a students-first approach, both academically and socially.
In the Middle School, the two morning classes are separated by a 50-minute Enrichment period, during which the Division holds Morning, Advisory, and Class Meetings, and our signature Electives program, as well as hosts guest speakers. The lunch period between the second and third classes lasts an hour, but is divided into lunch, recess, and homework help each day, providing students with time to connect with faculty and receive academic support, as needed. There is a 20-minute break between afternoon classes, as well. In order to preserve an earlier dismissal on Fridays, the community period, breaks, and lunch are shortened slightly, allowing for a 2:05 PM dismissal on that day.
To gain a better understanding of the PCDS daily schedule at each grade level, please consult these sample Middle School schedules. (Important note: Coursework will be differentiated, particularly in foreign language and math, per each individual’s academic ability and/or choice. Not every student in the 7th or 8th grades takes the classes in these samples.)