Finding time to support
Purpose of this resource:
This resource provides examples of how schools and districts have organized
time to support teachers’ professional learning. It identifies six
different strategies for organizing time and examples of how schools and
districts have used each strategy to support teachers’ professional
How to use this resource:
You and your colleagues can use the strategies and examples to find and
organize time for beginning and mentor teachers' study groups in your school.
You can also use them to develop ways to organize time for mentoring.
Click on the “Example” link after each strategy to find sample
school schedules and descriptions of how schools/districts have employed
1. Bank time
Lengthen the regular
school day. Use the extra minutes to create larger blocks of time
for teachers to work, plan and learn together.
early dismissal/late start days.
periods and use “saved” time to build extended time for
Hire more personnel
(teachers, clerks, support staff).
teachers to fill in for teachers.
Add an extra
teaching position for a rotating substitute who can regularly fill
in for classroom teachers.
Create a “substitute
bank” of well-trained substitute teachers in order to free teachers
to work and learn together.
3. Common time
- Use common planning time for
teachers who share the same students or who teach the same grade level
or subject matter.
- Organize “specials”
into blocks of time to create common planning time for teachers.
- Link planning time to non-instructional
times (i.e. lunch periods, recess) to expand time for teacher collaboration.
4. Free teachers from instructional
- Enlist administrators to teach
- Authorize teaching assistants and/or college interns, under the direction of a teacher, to teach classes
at regular intervals.
- Group teachers into teams to enable one teacher
to plan/work while the other teaches students.
- Create day-long, off-site educational
experiences for students to create time for teachers to collaborate.
teachers from instructional duties examples
5. Add professional days
to the school year
- Create multi-day summer retreats
- Create a mid-year break for students
to enable teachers to work together.
Adding professional days examples
6. Use existing time more
- Use existing staff meetings for
- Spread time from district planning
days across the calendar to create more time for school-based professional
existing time examples
Watts, G., & Castle, S. (1993). The time dilemma in school
restructuring. Phi Delta Kappan, vol.75, no. 4, 306-310..
Miles K.H.. (1995). Freeing
resources for improving schools: A case study of teacher allocation in
Boston public schools. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 17, 476-493.