Helpful resources to plan for the school year

Middle School Sample Schedules

Due to the timing of beginning the true scheduling process for 2018-2019, these sample schedules do not fully showcase the use of flex time. However, flex time will be allocated time for student learning, collaboration, teamwork, and social/emotional development.

Upper School Sample Schedules

While most of the classes are year long, some classes are semester long. For example, when second semester begins in January, students will have the option to enroll in a second art or PE class or instead utilize that class period as a study hall/free period.

Due to the timing of beginning the true scheduling process for 2018-2019, these sample schedules do not fully showcase the use of flex time. However, flex time will be allocated time for student learning, collaboration, teamwork, and social/emotional development.

Grade 9 Sample Schedule

View sample schedule

The grade 9 sample schedule represents an underclassman student with five academic solid courses, who is enrolled in one class within each department (math, English, history, science, world language, physical education, art).

Grade 12 Sample Schedule

View Sample Schedule

The grade 12 sample schedule represents an upperclass student with seven academic solid courses, who is enrolled in two classes within science and history departments and one class in all remaining departments (math, English, world language, art), three of which are advanced placement classes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is flex time?

There is flex time at the end of each day. These flex times will generally have structure (for example, study hall, grade level collaborative opportunities, sports/activities early release, etc.). More information about flex time, specific to each grade level, will be made available upon release of schedules.

Will students have free periods and study halls? Where can students go to get work done?

Anytime a student in grades 5-9 is not in a scheduled class, that student will be assigned to a supervised study hall. Students in grades 10-12 will have a free period if they are not in a scheduled class. There will be designated classrooms assigned for quiet work space for students during free periods and flex time. Course and graduation requirements remain unchanged.

Will the longer class periods give students more time for homework in class? And what does the block schedule mean for study halls?

Depending on the number of courses students register for, students will still have study halls. Some students who choose to fill every period (as some do now) will not have a study hall. In some instances, students may have time to work on homework in class, but that will depend on the teacher and the lesson plan for the day. We are currently designing homework guidelines for students and faculty given the new schedule framework.

Will the school day end earlier?

The Middle and Upper School day will continue to be from 8:00 am to 3:40 pm. The school day will end with structured flex time.

How will students and parents know what day it is in the rotation?

Days will be determined before the start of the academic year. Students will receive planners outlining the days of the rotation for the school year. Rotation days will be displayed on the televisions and yard signs will be posted on campus. In the event of an unexpected missed day of school, that day will be skipped.

Will seniors still have senior privileges?

Seniors will continue to enjoy senior privileges while they remain in good academic standing. Seniors with free periods are allowed to leave campus if they sign out in the office and sign back in when they return to campus. Seniors are able to leave campus for lunch if their schedule allows.

Can students double book two classes at one time?

Taking multiple courses during the same class period is no longer allowed.

Are students still able to take two classes in one content area at the same time (also referred to as doubling up)?

We recognize that some students may need to double up based on their future aspirations and academic needs. These discussions will occur as needed and a decision made in the best interest of the student.

Will the lunch period be longer?

We are currently re-evaluating the timing around lunch to ensure that we have a more efficient process for lunch and that students have enough time to eat and socialize with friends.

What is the purpose of the 15-minute break? What can be done in 15 minutes?

The 15-minute break offers students a chance to reset after the 80-minute morning class. Based on student feedback, we will use this time for fifth and sixth graders a “brain break.” For grades 7-12, it will be an opportunity for students to enjoy a snack, socialize, and unwind in an organized, structured manner.

What will an 80-minute period look like for students? How can students stay engaged for 80 minutes?

Engagement during any length of time is dependent on effective teacher planning. Teachers will use a variety of instructional activities to ensure students learn new skills and content and have opportunities to interact with it, collaborate together and critically engage with new materials. Teachers will receive professional development on ways to best engage students, with concrete strategies, for an 80-minute period. Classes will not be 80 minutes of teacher lecture.

Will teachers be ready to teach an 80-minute class period?

Yes. We are planning professional development activities for teachers to assist with the transition. Many of BT's teachers have already taught longer periods prior to coming to BT.

Why does the schedule rotate?

The rotating schedule allows for students and teachers to interact at different times of the instructional day. Students who learn better in the morning will have the opportunity to learn from teachers of all content areas during their peak learning times. Some students are more tired in the morning, and having the same first hour class doesn’t allow the student to engage in the content the same way they would after lunch or later in the day. The same is true for students who learn best in the morning. Additionally, many of our students participate in activities and athletics that require them to leave early for games/competitions. In our current schedule, students miss the same class when needing to leave early, putting them at a disadvantage to those students who are not involved in these activities. With a rotating schedule, students will not regularly miss the same classes and will more easily maintain high academic standards while simultaneously engaging in the many activities BT has to offer.

How many AP courses can students take?

The AP policy will not change; students may take one AP course sophomore year, three AP courses junior year, and three AP courses senior year. We encourage each student to determine the number of AP classes to pursue based on each student’s interest and ability.

How many core/academic classes can Upper School students take?

The proposed schedule provides the opportunity to enroll in eight courses. There are seven academic content areas (English, history, math, science, world language, art, and PE). Students will be encouraged to maximize their academic opportunities by taking a minimum of four to five courses and a maximum of seven to eight courses each semester. The majority of courses will be year-long courses with the exception of some art, technology, and PE courses.

How will Chapel, House, Advisory, and class meetings fit into the schedule?

The period formerly known as 6A was used for choir and additional electives. Those courses will be rolled into the eight academic class periods meeting on the six-day rotation. A shorter period, similar to the current 6A will be used for Chapel, House/Advisory, and grade-level meetings. Chapel will occur each Tuesday. House/Advisory and grade-level meeting times will be assigned to the other days of the week (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday). House/Advisory will continue to have a focus on academic monitoring, student collaboration, service learning, and FUN! The current Middle School Advisory program is under review for adjustments, and a committee is meeting to enhance the current House system for the Upper School.

Will there be some sort of Advisory/home room each morning for fifth and sixth grade? Will there be an end-of-day check-in?

Fifth and sixth grades will continue to have Advisory. Currently, we have no plans for a formal end-of-day check-in.

How will the new schedule impact homework load?

A primary reason for moving to a rotating schedule and moving away from having every class every day is to allow students to simulate a college experience by focusing more on the classes they are enrolled in each semester. Homework load should decrease as the number of courses that you must focus on nightly will reduce. In most cases, you will have two days to complete homework for a given course. Teachers will not double the amount of homework on a given night due to the new schedule structure.

What will the new schedule affect PE?

PE will be a regular class during the new six-day rotation. PE swimming will now occur on different schedule days for kindergarten through grade 8. Swimming will not be limited to Thursdays and Fridays (as it is on the current schedule).

How many times a week will students have PE?

PE will continue to be a full course for students in grades 5-8. A full course, in the new schedule, will run four of the six days.

There will be student athletes that miss an entire day of school. Any chance lectures can be taped?

Great question! We are still exploring the best way to do this.

I understand students were shown sample schedules during the assembly. Will those be posted and made available for parents to see?

Yes, we will post sample schedules the week after spring break. We have been waiting to get course registrations completed to ensure they mirror real schedules as much as possible.

Research Regarding Rotating Schedules


Ted Talks


  • How to Raise an Adult – Julie Lythcott-Haims
  • How Children Succeed- Paul Tough
  • Grit – Angela Duckworth
  • #EdJourney – Grant Lichtman
  • Why Don’t Students Like School? – Daniel Willingham
  • Doing School – Denise Pope
  • 21st Century Skills – Bernie Trilling and Charles Fadel
  • Drive: The Surprising Truth Behind What Motivates Us – Daniel Pink
  • Creative Schools – Sir Ken Robinson
  • Overloaded and Underprepared – Denise Pope, Maureen Brown, and Sarah Miles

Dear BT Families,

Brownell Talbot as a school and a community is such a special place. Beyond the friendships that form and sustain between students, parents, faculty, and staff; beyond the many accolades our students earn in and out of the classroom; beyond the inspiring ideas brought forth and then put into action by our teachers; BT is special because we are rich in 154 years of excellence and tradition.

We have a responsibility to uphold these traditions while also thinking innovatively about BT's future. Our designation as an independent school provides us the freedom to delve into areas where we are good, in order to address needs, adapt, and become great as we pursue another 154 years of preparing students for college and life.

As BT nears the completion of the current five-year strategic plan, and we begin thinking about the next five years, I'd like to update you on our objective of being known as a leader in preschool through grade 12 education in Omaha. The objective in our strategic plan states:

Brownell Talbot will build upon effective teaching and learning through innovative, interdisciplinary, and differentiated pedagogical methods that integrate technology and promote excellence in academics, athletics/activities, and the arts.

A key strategy under this objective required our team to think creatively and comprehensively about schedule, time, and calendar to promote the most balanced teaching and learning experience possible.

How We Are Addressing This Strategy

Starting with the 2018-2019 school year, Brownell Talbot will adopt a rotating schedule with classes meeting four out of every six days. A rotating schedule allows every teacher equal access to each student's best learning times. For example, a student may have math first period on day one of the schedule. On day two, math could be period 2, and so on.

Steps Taken to Create the New Schedule

At the State of the School meeting in November, I shared with you that BT had partnered with Challenge Success, an organization that focuses on how schools can achieve student balance while maintaining high standards of academic excellence. Our Challenge Success team, which includes faculty, students, a trustee, and parents, challenged the BT faculty to critically review our practices and develop an actionable plan for improving BT's schedule, time, and calendar. After six months of analysis, research, and feedback, we have established a mission-centered plan that we are excited to introduce to the BT community.

Rotating Schedule benefits



Rotating Schedule

  • Prevents students who participate in activities/athletics repeatedly miss time from the same course/subject.
  • Capitalizes on students' best learning times.
  • Provides more balance to student workload at home.

Longer Periods

  • Puts focus on deepening student knowledge, reflection, and goal setting.
  • Provides more time for individual support and feedback.
  • Allows teachers to use a greater variety of teaching methods and assessments.

Flex Time at the End of the Day

  • Provides time for academic support from faculty and peer tutors.
  • Allows for more collaboration between students.
  • Gives time for grade-level team building.
  • Allows for internships/outside experiences during the school day.
  • Permits for some extracurricular activity built into the school day.


  • Allows House and advisory to meet multiple times a week, giving more frequency to student connections and academic monitoring and support.

With our strategic plan and these benefits in mind, I’m excited to move this plan forward and begin to work with families to ensure a more flexible school day that maintains the high expectations and outcomes associated with Brownell Talbot.

In the coming weeks, we will provide additional information such as sample schedules and answers to frequently asked questions. We will also offer opportunities to have questions about the new schedule answered through the following events:

  • On Friday, March 2 current grade 5-11 students will learn about the new schedule.
  • On Friday, March 16 we will hold a Facebook Live event with our Challenge Success team.
  • We will hold a State of the Schools spring meeting, at a date to be determined, to share more details and answer questions.

In the meantime, Mr. Smith, Mr. Harrell, and I are available should you wish to talk!

Thank you,

Kristi N. Gibbs, Ed.D.
Head of School

Other Schools with Rotating Schedules

  • Westminster School, GA
  • Lovett School, GA
  • Baylor School, TN
  • Charlotte Country Day School, NC
  • Cranbrook School, MI
  • Athens Academy, GA
  • Winsor School, MA
  • Malvern Prep School, PA
  • Pingree School, MA
  • Nansemond Suffolk School, VA
  • Providence Country Day School, RI
  • Ravenscroft School, NC
  • Head Royce School, CA
  • Kent Denver School, CO
  • Hawken School, OH