Curriculum Column

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You could call it "everything you wanted to know about alternative scheduling but were afraid to ask."

In response to growing interest among school administrators in block scheduling, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development has produced a series of videotapes and publications about alternative ways to organize the school day.

Block scheduling is an approach in which students take fewer classes each school day but class periods are longer. (See Education Week, May 22, 1996.)

The ASCD surveys members each year about issues that concern them and chooses two topics to focus on. "This is something they are worrying about," said Susan Hallgroup. "It gets across the heart of everything else," from curriculum to professional development, she added.

The videotapes include an overview of how scheduling can be used as a lever for school reform, a profile of one school's use of alternative scheduling, and a guide to using large blocks of time effectively in the classroom.

The three videotapes, a facilitator's guide, and the book Block Scheduling: A Catalyst for Change in High Schools, by Robert Lynn Canady and Michael D. Rettig, are available as a set for $680 for members and $780 for nonmembers by calling the ASCD at (800)933-2723.

Individual tapes or the set can be rented for five days at a reduced charge. A 15-minute preview tape and an eight-page excerpt from the guide are also available for $20 each.

In an effort to increase teacher participation in its deliberations, the National Council on Science and Technology Education has appointed seven new members.

The council is the advisory board for Project 2061, a K-12 science-education reform effort of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The panel is made up of representatives of the science, education, and business communities; the addition of three new teachers doubles the number of classroom educators on the council, for a total of six.

"We wanted to make sure we had the voices of more classroom educators represented on the council," said Natalie Nielson, a spokeswoman for the Washington-based AAAS.

Among other efforts, Project 2061 has produced "Benchmarks for Science Literacy," a document that defines what students should know and be able to do in science by the end of the 2nd, 5th, 8th, and 12th grades.

Vol. 15, Issue 40, Page 8

Published in Print: July 10, 1996, as Curriculum Column
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