1. How will snow days be handled?
This is a great question. The bulk of potential snow days would most likely fall during the second trimester. Diocesan policy mandates a minimum number of school days at 176 and all snow days must be made up. The best way to manage the snow day issue is to deliberately make the second trimester a day or two longer than the first and third trimester with the make up day scheduled by using an optional staff development day. The other alternative is making up the snow days at the end of the year in a trimester that is not relevant to the missed time. We could also go the route of making the third trimester a day or two shorter banking on the possibility of snow days. All in all the problem is manageable and has many solutions.

2. What other high schools are using this model?
If you mean this model in the terms of trimester then the answer is plenty. The state of Michigan a number of schools in Indiana and the Northeast have started using the trimester model as well as a number of colleges and universities. In terms of structuring time and the four period flex daily schedule it would be hard to say that any other schools are running a schedule that is exactly the same. In terms of pedagogy being inquiry driven and project based a good example is the Science Leadership Academy of Philadelphia. Here is a link to a helpful website detailing the ins and outs of various forms of trimester scheduling. Link here

3. What about a non-normal five day week?
Given that in the schedule as proposed there are five separate rotations a non five day week would not be an issue. Wherever we are at in the cycle is where we would pick up. Ideally this could be charted out for the entire year in advance.

4. When and how would teachers have a prep period?
Don't worry teachers will still have prep periods. In the current model six of seven instructional periods is a full load. In the proposed model teachers would teach a total of ten of fifteen sections annually. This means that for two of the three trimesters in the given year a teacher would teach three of five and for one of the three trimesters a teacher would teach four of five.

5. How would we deal with students missing days?
This is a critical issue to the success of the model. It is important to remember that the vast majority of our students 95% plus have no issue with attendance and miss only a small number of days each year. Sometimes we project the issues of the few onto the whole. Alas for students prone to missing class we would have to make our attendance policies more stringent. We are currently developing new attendance policies to address these issues. One added benefit of the proposed school calendar is the creation of a fall break. Families will be asked to please limit vacations and other unnecessary absences to the scheduled school holidays.

6. Does this schedule just favor athletes?
No. The schedule is designed around the learning needs of the entire population with a focus on best practice. Athletes benefit directly from the rotating aspect of the schedule and the ability to not miss the same class repeatedly in those sports that are prone to leaving early due to the distance needed to be traveled.

7. Wouldn't the 3:30 release time make it difficult for athletes?
Yes it would for those few sports affected by the later release time. Scheduling of home contests would have to take place at least a half hour later at 4:30 instead of 4:00 for baseball and softball games. Our golf schedule would have to be adjusted as well with less of a tendency to travel long distances for games. This is all doable and it is important to remember sports are not the primary reason PND exists. They are important and part of a holistic education but they shouldn't drive academic decisions.

8. What about parents who need to drop their children off early?
As in the current model the building will still be open relatively early to accommodate the needs of working families. An easily solution is paying a stipend for early school supervision. This should not prove to be a problem. If anything older children will be able to drop off younger children and then come to school.

9. Won't students be asleep at 8:30 just like they are now at 7:45?
Maybe or maybe not. The circadian rhythm and sleep needs for teenagers are well documented. A later start time is not designed to be easier for everyone just more in line with how the teenage brain works. This issue has been studied in a number of schools who have adopted later starts. The research clearly indicates that students perform better in thin environment with schools noting a decrease in absences and tardies after adopting the trimester model. Link to Studies on High School Start Times.