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 or teachers, and prepare for the upcoming class.


Sample Weekly Upper 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 Upper School, the two morning classes are separated by a 50-minute community period, during which the Division holds Morning, Advisory and Class Meetings, and our signature Senior Speeches program, as well as hosts guest speakers.  The lunch period between the second and third classes lasts an hour, providing ample time for students to eat, for clubs and activities to take place, and for students to connect with faculty for additional help or support.  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.