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Building School Schedules is Like a Jigsaw Puzzle

It's a delicate balance to find a way to fit everything together for school schedules.
With the 2020/2021 school year now underway, Middle and Senior School students are back in the classroom and eagerly learning. But none of that would be possible without the dedication and commitment from the staff that built the class schedule for the coming year.

In the Middle and Senior Schools, Ms. Samantha Goddard, Coordinator, Curriculum Leadership, was the mastermind who pieced together this year’s schedules for all the students in Grades 6 to 12.

“It’s been at times quite interesting and very challenging,” she said. “It’s very rewarding when you make it work, but it’s also a long process.”

Ms. Goddard compared the process to putting together a jigsaw puzzle with building GNS’ unique student-led schedules. It was a delicate balance to find a way to fit everything together.

“The students’ choice is so important,” she said. “We look at what our students chose and that’s how we decide how many classes of math to have or french, etc… because it's student-led, I have to make sure the pieces all fit so the students can get the subjects they want. That’s why it is quite delicately balanced.”

Ms. Goddard starts to build the schedule once the students have chosen their classes. In the Senior School, they work with a block schedule, so each move affects another block. The goal, like a jigsaw, is to make everything work together.

<div">The process is ongoing throughout the year, especially when changes are occasionally needed at different times. However, things start to get going in January when discussions about the Program of Studies for the upcoming year commence. In April, students begin to make their course choices, and the schedule is finished in mid-July.
Some additional challenges had to be considered for the schedule this year, with the need for physical distancing and more space. Students and staff have been able to utilize outdoor spaces while the weather is warmer, and the Dining Hall, the Scott Fitness Centre and other areas of the school are also being used as learning spaces. 

“This year has been different because we had to think a lot more carefully about where the students are placed for their classes because we tried to make the most out of our bigger rooms to be able to distance the students a little bit more,” explained Ms. Goddard.

Even though there were challenges this year, the schedule was finalized with only occasional tweaks, and we are so excited about the school year ahead of us!

Glenlyon Norfolk School

Junior School (JK to Grade 5)

Middle (Grade 6 to 8) and Senior (Grade 9 to 12) Schools