Students at Hale come to school with many needs. Their skills are lower than peers in neighboring schools, most are learning English as a new language, and many are economically disadvantaged. Providing the support and individualization required to meet the needs of students at Hale was taking its toll on teachers. Teachers routinely found themselves working very long hours, sometimes at the expense of their own families, relationships, and well-being.
Hale was designated a school in need of improvement by the State of Oklahoma and provided with scheduling and instructional support and a new principal. Hale administrators worked with School by Design™ in the winter of 2015 to redesign the school master schedule and implemented those changes in the fall of 2015. All teachers now have significant amounts of professional development time built into their regular schedule. Most teachers have a full day every week to step back and improve their effectiveness in the classroom, collaborate, plan, and engage students' family members. Others have a daily professional development period. The additional time has given teachers time to improve instruction and support students while also increasing morale by restoring the possibility of a greater work/life balance.
This is the first year of the Hale redesign. Although it is still early, Hale teachers and school leaders are reporting encouraging results. Student and faculty attendance have increased. Thanks to the more frequent family connections, teachers are noticing improved student behavior in the classrooms. Everyone sees an increase in student engagement and, overall, a more positive culture in the classrooms.