For all students in grades 5-12, PCDS utilizes a block schedule on a seven-day rotation. Each day, students take only four, 75-minute classes, with significant breaks in between each class. These extended 75-minute learning blocks allow for teachers to utilize multiple teaching strategies to engage the different learning styles of the students in the classroom. In short, at PCDS teaching and learning emphasizes depth of understanding, deep questions and conversations, and demonstration of mastery, rather than superficial memorization. In Upper School, students rotate through all of their classes every two days. A typical Upper School student takes six classes each semester.
Breaks between classes are meaningful and substantive -- Morning Meeting, advisory, Senior Speeches, or just a chance to grab a snack and chat with some friends allow for appropriate mental breaks in between demanding courses.
Additionally, home work and academic planning is manageable with four courses per day. On most days, Upper School students will have a "free period" within their schedule, allowing for an extended amount of time to work on homework or meet with a teacher for support. Because of the schedule's rotation of classes, students typically have a full school day between class meetings to manage their homework or preparation for the following class period.