Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Norman Weston

Second Advisor

Jack Denny


The needs of 21st Century learners require an overhaul in the way classroom instruction is organized and delivered. This Change Plan outlines how and why high schools may consider modifying the bell schedule to support needed change. The current high school structure was developed at the turn of the 20th Century, over 100 years ago, when the world was much smaller, and the vast majority of students did not go on to college or need advanced coursework to enter and compete in the workforce. Yet, this late 19th century concept is still the basic organizing structure of our modern day high school that must meet the needs of a much more diverse group of students requiring very different skill sets (DiMartino and Clarke, 2008, p. 7). This Change Plan is about whether and to what extent the traditional 8-period, 50-minute school day effectively meets the needs of 21st century schools as compared to a block or modified block schedule. Three schools are featured in this Change Plan. One traditionally scheduled school (District A), one A/B modified block school (District B) and one 4x4 block schedule school (District C). The results clearly demonstrate dissatisfaction by the teachers and students in the traditionally scheduled school because they feel overwhelmed, disconnected with one another, and unable to dive deeply into needed content and skills. However, teachers in the 4x4 block schedule expressed equal frustration because they feel the schedule is more limiting, not less. The only schedule of the three which seems to hold some promise is the A/B modified block schedule which blends a traditional and block approach. Whatever the final solution, District A needs to study what schedule will best allow their 21st century students to apply needed skills and demonstrate mastery over them.