Providence Preparatory School has been back to school for just over 3 weeks. Having worked in traditional 5-day-a-week education for over 20 years, I am adjusting to the University-Model that only has elementary students meeting "At-School" 2-days-a-week and off campus for "Satellite-Classes" 3-days-a-week.
Here are some of the differences I have noticed already:
Energy - Students and teachers arrive at school excited about the day ahead. There is a unique atmosphere when the school day starts. With on-campus teaching happening only 2 days per week, students seem rested and eager to see their friends and teachers. Teachers also have a day off in-between classes and only teach one or two classes on the days that they are on campus giving them plenty of time to focus, prepare and rejuvenate before arriving back on campus to teach.
Culture - The high level of energy works to help create the prevailing school culture. Due to the fact that students are only on campus 2 days per week there is very little class time that is not purposefully planned. Teachers are expected to utilize all of their allotted teaching time and students learn to respect the need to be attentive while the teacher is teaching. So, what we experience is very focused class periods surrounded by scheduled activity breaks such as brain break, recess, and physical education type classes. Additionally, students tend to cherish the time they have with friends at school due to the fact that they are only on campus with each other 2 days a week.
Family-focused— The University-Model provides an atmosphere that fosters meaningful interaction between parents and children. The true value of the University-Model is that parents serve as co-teachers with experienced professional educators. The “at-school” teacher develops the weekly lesson plans, teaches academic concepts, administers and grades quizzes and tests while at the same time serves a valuable resource to support the parent during the "satellite" school days. One thing that stands out to me is the depth of connection developed because the parents are so intimately involved in the learning process of their children. Who knows better how a child learns than a parent? In this model, parents are given the resources to capitalize on this knowledge and help their children grow academically and spiritually.
When I served as headmaster of a traditional 5-day-a-week school it seemed as if the school dictated the family activities each week. Naturally, students were out of the home and away from parents every weekday while they attended classes, but that wasn't the only time the school would determine a families schedule. Evening PTO meetings, sports/fine arts practices and homework also interfere with parents ability to influence family time. The University-Model gives families control over their time.