A Schedule Reimagined - The New Upper School Modular Schedule
Mary Rose Guerin, Head of School

Times change and we must change with them.

- St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

 

 

Dear Forest Ridge Families,

In my communication from March 8 of last year, I shared with you that Forest Ridge was partnering with Independent School Management to audit and assess our student schedule and present us with several schedule models that would better align with how students learn best, while also allowing us to increase the depth of student learning and attend to their social-emotional wellbeing. After much discernment, I am excited to announce that the Forest Ridge upper school will be moving to a modular ("mod") schedule in the fall of 2024. This decision was based on extensive research and analysis conducted by our Independent School Management consultants and our School Leadership Team, who gathered input from students, parents, faculty, staff, and administrators. The upper school mod schedule is designed to empower our students with a dynamic, flexible, and holistic approach to learning and aligns with our commitment to Sacred Heart education, fostering intellectual curiosity, personal growth, and well-rounded development in each student.

Developing a new schedule is a direct outgrowth of our Strategic Framework. The key programmatic initiatives articulated in the Framework call for a reimagining of education designed to prepare our students to lead lives of purpose in a rapidly evolving world.  As such, over the past several years, we have intentionally created an outstanding upper school program that encourages active student engagement and choice in what they’re learning, the integration of knowledge and skills across disciplines, significant peer collaboration, and experiential learning. Changing Forest Ridge’s upper school schedule constitutes a major step toward achieving our curricular goals, while employing current research on how girls learn best. As the delivery of our curriculum has evolved, so must the structures that support it, including our schedule. 

Growing co-curricular and experiential opportunities for our students is another cornerstone of our strategic framework. The mod schedule intensifies our ability to engage our students with communities both inside and outside of the school. Offering six mods, as opposed to the two marking periods offered in the current semester model, allows more flexibility, creating opportunities to build ensembles, as well as other selected co-curricular activities, into the regularly scheduled day. Further, the flexibility of the mod schedule allows us a unique opportunity to build meaningful experiential opportunities that integrate two or more classes, connecting her learning across subjects and beyond the walls of the traditional classroom.

Further, as rates of anxiety and depression in teenage girls continue to rise in the United States, it is imperative that Forest Ridge ensures our students’ daily experiences provide balance and attend to their overall well-being. The mod schedule will not only create more opportunities for connection with classmates and faculty over the course of the day, but students will also take fewer courses per marking period, allowing them to focus their attention on fewer subjects at a given time.  Further, the mod schedule provides more flexibility in how students build their schedules so they can factor in their extra-curricular commitments when selecting courses. The move from a semester-long block schedule to a mod schedule gives students more agency over their learning and the space to focus deeply on a few subjects, rather than dividing their attention between 7-8 subjects at a time.

While the transition to the mod schedule represents a significant change, we believe it is in harmony with the timely and timeless spirit of Sacred Heart education; however, we understand that this decision may raise questions, as is expected with any change. To this end, over the coming weeks we will be hosting informational sessions and Q&A opportunities to address any questions. Please click here if you would like to register for one of the parent/guardian meeting opportunities provided by the school.
 
We are excited about the opportunities this schedule change affords our students. Our upper school faculty are already busy designing their courses into a mod format. As your student meets with her advisor and Upper School Academic Dean, Corina Rahmig ‘98, for course registration in the spring, she will get individualized counsel that will guide her through the choices and ensure that she builds the program that best suits her interests and needs.
 
Your daughter just received information about this exciting new schedule this morning at Upper School Assembly, and will have time for Q&A during grade-level advisory with members of our academic team this afternoon.  

I am very proud of the work our faculty and staff have done to create the new modular schedule. The 2024-25 academic year will be an exciting start to this next chapter at Forest Ridge, continuing our tradition of innovating in education. I look forward to answering any questions you may have.

For more information regarding the upper school mod schedule, including sample schedules by grade, please click here

With enthusiasm and excitement,

Mary Rose Guerin,

Head of School