I was thinking…Should We Implement a BSD?

Should We Implement a Balanced School Day?


Back in September we began planning our Continuous Improvement Plan and we decided  to investigate a Balanced School Day (BSD).  Some of us had heard about other schools using it and how they really liked it.  We started to do some reading about it and brought the idea to our School Council.  They too were interested, therefore we decided to develop a plan.  This blog provides some details of our plan to possibly use a BSD for the 2013-14 school year.  Before I continue I think we need to address some points, starting with “What is a BSD?”

What is it?

A balanced school day is a different approach of structuring the day.  Instead of the traditional classes, recess, classes, lunch, classes, recess, and classes approach; the balanced school day has classes, nutritional break/recess, classes, nutritional break/recess, and classes.  Please check out our summary document that explains the BSD, provides bell times, and some common questions/answers.

Why are we trying a BSD?
The very direct answer is that we think it helps us to achieve our mission and vision.  Specifically, we think it improves student learning.


It improves student learning to two main ways.  Firstly, it increases instructional time.  By reducing the breaks from three to two it eliminates a  transition time.  If we save five minutes a day by doing this, it can save twenty five minutes a week, almost two hours in a month and therefore twenty hours in a year.  Secondly, it will allow us to create large blocks of time that teachers can focus on numeracy and literacy.

In addition to student learning, we believe the nutritional breaks of a BSD provide a better alternative to the traditional school day.  Students will

bsd2not be rushed to eat.  Also, by having two nutritional breaks we think students we not get hungry during the day and be more focused on their learning.

Questions and Answers

By now you may have some questions about a BSD.  Please see our summary document to see some questions/answers we came up with.

The Plan

After a lot of discussion with staff and School Council we will be having a trial run this April.  Right after the Easter Break, we will try a BSD.  On May 1 we will go back to our traditional school day.  Our school day will start and end at the same time.  Our various noon clubs will continue to be offered, but since we will not have a noon time slot they will be offered after the first or second nutritional break.

Just for our Grade 1 to 6 Programs

The BSD will only affect our grade 1 to 6 students.  Our Early Learning Program and our Kindergarten classes will not be affected and will stay on the their current schedule.

How can I provide feedback?

In the early part of May we will be surveying our students, parents, and staff about the April experience.  Once we have gathered the results we will make a decision about implementing a BSD for the 2013-14 school year.

Thank you for your understanding as we try something new to improve student learning at Our Lady of the Assumption School.  We are looking forward to our trial run and getting the feedback for all the members of our learning community.

Greg Kostiuk

I was thinking…Welcome, Bienvenue, and Kii si Ksi matsimm!

Recently, we began to accept new registrations for the 2013-14 school-year.  As this process continues to unfold I have had the pleasure of giving tours of our school.  In a job that requires a variety of paper work it is with pleasure that I meet possible new students and parents to our learning community.

ola gathering sign

As I walk around the school I, and many of the students and parents, are amazed of all the great learning activities going on in the school.  In touring the school and listening to the comments of the students and parents there are some common themes:

–          Students feel welcomed.  As students are introduced to possible next year teachers, the teachers literally throw their doors open and welcome the students.  Many students are gently encouraged to come on in and explore the classrooms.

–          Parents feel welcomed.  Parents see the openness of staff and start to feel part of our learning community.  Parents are also amazed that the classroom looks different from when they were in school.  Technology is evident, but the simple structure has changed.  Desks are not in rows; in fact some classrooms do not even have desks.  Learning looks different as staff engage their learners and it is definitely not the traditional sit and get.

–          Students and parents see community.  Many students and parents are surprised how friendly the students and staff are to each other and to new members of the community.  We are not a huge school, but the new students and parents are surprized that as I tour the building I can interact, by name, with the students.  The students and parents see a faith community with a purpose.  A purpose that the staff and students are proud of.

Having programs and the latest gadgets are important and are needed in any school.  More important though is an atmosphere of welcoming in the school.  Students and parents need to realize the school they are choosing is a special place.  Our school is special place where their child will be welcomed with open arms and cared for.

Greg Kostiuk