The new schedule will be implemented at the start of the 2022-2023 school year.

FAQs

List of 18 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. Why did we change the schedule?

    We will incorporate a new schedule for both the Upper and Middle School divisions with the following goals in mind:
    • Establishing a simpler schedule with more rigorous course offerings that meet more frequently
    • More teacher collaboration time
    • More opportunities for one on one academic time with students through conferences (writing and otherwise) that are built into the schedule
    • Added community time to focus on strengthening Portledge Pillars, student social and emotional well-being, and character education
    • Improving the health and well-being of our students and faculty by allowing for dedicated lunchtimes, an 8:30 am start to the academic day, community time, and dedicated free periods.
  • Q. How does the 5-day, rotating schedule work?

    The new schedule is based on a 5-day cycle, attached to the days of the week. Each class will meet 4 out 5 days. In the Upper School, 1 of those days will be a 40-minute class, 1 of those days will be a 70-minute class, and two of those days will be 50-minute classes. In the Middle School, 1 of those days will be 35-minute classes, and the other 3 days will be 50-minute classes.

    As is the case currently, classes will also rotate vertically so you don’t have the same 1st-period class every day. It may be 1st period one day, 3rd period another day, and last another day.
  • Q. How will the schedule impact lunch?

    Every student will have a dedicated lunch period that won’t conflict with any other commitments. Middle Schoolers will all have lunch at the same time. Upper Schoolers will have two different lunch periods due to space constraints in the Commons.
  • Q. What is “community time?"

    Community time is daily time designated in the late morning and is used for Advisory, Conferences, Class Meetings, Clubs, Town Meetings, and other community-wide events. In the new schedule, community time overlaps between the divisions, allowing opportunities for larger convocations and special events.
  • Q. What is “Conference Time?"

    Conference times are essentially office hours for teachers. It’s a time when every instructor will be in a predictable place, a classroom or office, and available for extra help. Students may use this time to ask questions prior to assessments or just to sit and get a head-start on homework with the help of their peers or instructor.
  • Q. What are “Class Meetings?"

    These are opportunities for students in the same class, for example, all of the 9th graders, to meet as a group to discuss issues specific to their grade level in the Upper School. These meetings will be led by the Deans and their class officers.
  • Q. What time do the students have to arrive at school and when does the school day end?

    Students in the Middle and Upper Schools will start their academic day at 8:30 am and end it at 3:30 pm. After school sports and some clubs will start thereafter. 

    Middle School athletics practice will go from 3:35 to 4:45. 

    Depending on the season and facility requirements, Upper School athletics practice will start between 3:45 and 4:45. 

    5th and 6th Graders will have practice and games on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the school year. 7th and 8th graders will practice on Mondays and Wednesdays throughout the school year. Practices can take place on Friday but no games will take place on Friday. Every effort will be made to schedule 7th and 8th grade games on Monday and Wednesday only. 

    Middle School Hockey and Squash practices will be at different times and their days are to be determined and dependent on negotiations with outside facilities. 

    On special occasions, like Founders Day, Middle School Athletics will follow a special schedule.
  • Q. What are the new course offerings that will be available because of the new schedule?

    Starting next year, students will have semester-long courses available to them. Some of these courses are new offerings; others are reconfigurations of existing offerings. 

    Please check the Upper School Course Descriptions for 2022-2023 for more detailed information.
  • Q. Is there time set aside for students to meet with teachers in the new schedule?

    Yes! Twice per week, students will have the opportunity to meet with their instructors in their classrooms or offices during Conference time. 
  • Q. What changes to the current program will result from the new schedule?

    Students will still be able to take many different classes during a given school year; however, because of the semester setup, they should be taking fewer classes at any one time. This will allow them to focus more on their studies and have more time during the school day to get their work done and have some restorative time. As departments shape their offerings to this program over time, more choices will proliferate in the course catalog, increasing the opportunity for student choice and voice over time. Most core and elective classes will meet for more total minutes next year than they currently do.
  • Q. With the switch to Semesters, how will the grade reporting structure change?

    Comments will be written for all Middle and Upper School students at the end of the 1st quarter and the end of the 3rd quarter. Advisor Comments will be written at the end of the school year.

    Grade Reports will accompany the 1st and 3rd quarter Comments, and Report Cards will come at the end of the first semester and the end of the school year. 

    In addition to maintaining the number of personalized comments, this represents four times per year that we’ll be reporting the progress and grades of students versus the current three times. 
  • Q. Why are we switching from Trimesters to Semesters?

    • The Semester system:
      • will help ensure more grades and assessments for each report card and will allow us to mandate more assessments before quarterly grade reports (10/31 end of 1st quarter, 12/16 end of 1st semester, 3/10 end of 3rd quarter, and 6/9 end of 4th quarter)
      • will allow for more enriching, semester-long electives to be offered in the future, giving our students more choices as they complete our core offerings
      • will allow conversion of some current electives that meet infrequently to classes that meet every day for one of the two semesters. 
      • Semester-long classes are more in line with a college preparatory experience and will be more conducive to the college admissions process
      • From an admissions standpoint, it will be cleaner to allow new applicants to join our community mid-year
      • A clean break before the holidays provides the flexibility to allow for possible alternate programming in the future in early January (experiential Winterim, internships, service-learning opportunities, etc.)
  • Q. When do students have Physical Education under the new schedule?

    Middle Schoolers will have PE 4 out of 5 days during the school day. Upper Schoolers will have PE 1 out of 5 days during the school day. 

    Upper Schooler athletes will be exempt from PE while they’re in season. They will also be exempt from PE if they play 2 or more sports during the school year.

    Middle School athletes will engage in sports after school.
  • Q. How will the new schedule affect our sports programs?

    The new schedule, combined with a creative and innovative approach to the length of the Middle School and Upper School Seasons, will allow athletes at all levels to experience a competitive and driven athletic program. Student-athletes at all levels will benefit from being surrounded by like-minded individuals who are focused on a collaborative goal. This new schedule will also allow the department to make the most effective use of our facilities, our coaches, and or resources.
  • Q. How will the new schedule affect our Music, Theater, and Visual Arts programs?

    This schedule will allow more rehearsal time for those students interested in participating in music in the major ensemble programs: Chorus, Orchestra, and Band. Students interested in ensembles that require an audition (Jazz Band, Select Chorus, Solo/Chamber) have the ability to speak to the department chair to receive approval for these courses through an appeal but will also have more time to rehearse. This schedule will greatly improve the continuity of instruction, allowing more focused studio and theater time for students to deepen their understanding of the creative process. Students wishing to develop a concentration in the visual or performing arts will also have the opportunity to participate in a greater variety of electives expanding their understanding of different mediums, styles, and disciplines.
  • Q. Will there still be time set aside for advisory?

    Yes. Advisory will still meet every day for at least 5 minutes and occasionally longer. Some students may want to remain in their advisor’s classroom during Conference on some days.
  • Q. How will the new schedule affect the IB program?

    For IB Diploma students, the new schedule will allow for more flexibility in terms of pairing the Core curriculum with some other semester-long classes in both the senior and junior years, allowing our most driven students to experience more of what Portledge has to offer in terms of the arts and electives. 
  • Q. What are the benefits to the new schedule?

    • Easier to follow, it’s a simpler schedule that is attached to the days of the week
    • Allows for more teacher collaboration time
    • Builds in community time to focus on pillars more deliberately
    • Carves out dedicated time for extra help
    • Improves students’ health and well-being (Ensure that every student has time for lunch and most Upper Schoolers have a free period)
    • Schedule alignment between divisions provides consistent community time devoted to class meetings, and clubs and more time carved out to meet with Deans/Advisors for all students in grades 6-12
    • Schedule alignment between divisions makes more room for student-to-student mentor opportunities between Upper and Middle School students
    • Schedule alignment allows for Senior Projects to be presented to middle school grades in the future which perpetuates culture - for example, seniors that are presenting on Robotics to 8th graders will get them excited about joining that program, perpetuating the strengths of Portledge’s program and taking advantage of the passions of its faculty and students
    • Consistent time set aside for writing/teacher conferences and extra help
    • Built-in, planned, and structured office hours and extra help sessions, such that there are fewer surprise interruptions of their prep time will serve the dual purpose of keeping faculty fresh and fulfilled and encouraging student independence and forethought, even among students who struggle academically
    • Easier for multi-divisional teachers to exist because of schedule alignment. Therefore, academic departments will feel more like a team
    • Faculty will be better able to complete their work during the school day, not at home, making them more productive and more fulfilled, with a healthier work/life balance