Earlier this month, Dr. Emily Wardrop, Casady Upper Division History faculty, and Dr. Janet Hubbell, Casady Director of College Counseling and Upper Division English faculty, visited Holland Hall, a neighboring college preparatory school in Tulsa, Oklahoma. There, they observed its unique Upper School modular schedule and how it affected their students’ educational experiences. I recently discussed Holland Hall’s distinctive schedule with Dr. Wardrop who observed its American Studies class.
Holland Hall students typically have 18 modules each day with a class consisting of two to three twenty-two minute modules. The administrator of each class decides whether to take two or three mods for his or her class. Students begin each day at 8:00am in a morning meeting which ends at 8:20am. This module is similar to Casady’s chapel period; Holland Hall students are informed of the daily ongoings during this morning meeting. However, unlike Casady’s schedule, Holland Hall begins later on Wednesdays at 8:45am. Dr. Wardrop also stated that Holland Hall does not have bells to declare when a class ends or begins; this change is also coming to Casady next year along with the new schedule. When asked if not having bells served as a hindrance in the functionality of getting from class to class, Dr. Wardrop conveyed that classes ran quite smoothly and on time “without the jarring of the bells.” Another distinct feature of Holland Hall’s schedule is that seniors have the ability to check out of school for multiple free modules throughout the day. This is an especially interesting feature considering that Casady Upper Division students next year will also have multiple periods of free time on certain days when teachers do not use the X period.
Along with Holland Hall’s unique modular schedule comes a different approach to teaching classes. Dr. Wardrop observed that its signature American Studies course that is taken by all juniors combines traditional English and History courses into one collaborative class with two instructors. Students in this course engage in a variety of educational activities from Harkness discussions to creating their own podcasts. They also interact in kinesthetic learning activities such as performing plays to learn course material. The two administrators seem to incorporate their ideas and plans to create “a really neat dynamic […] with individuals who bring two very different perspectives,” Dr. Wardrop explained.
Although, there are many differences between Holland Hall’s modular schedule and Casady’s incoming schedule, there seems to be some similarities in the opportunities both programs offer to students and faculty members. Perhaps with Casady’s incoming schedule, teachers will have more freedom to collaborate with each other to create an interactive learning environment for students. The new schedule could allow students to learn how to manage their time wisely, and also give them more freedom to learn from teachers just as Holland Hall students may do with their modular schedule.