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Leveraging the Block Schedule for Student Learning Growth

Leveraging the Block Schedule for Student Learning Growth -
Laminated Guide

Danica Lewis (Author) and Don Smith (Author)

Thousands of schools across the country have shifted to a block schedule of some variety over the last three decades. This shift is generally made in order to:

  • Have longer periods of uninterrupted learning

  • Provide the opportunity to go deeper into content Reduce stress on teachers and students (fewer preps/classes at one time)

  • Create common planning time for teacher teams

Many schools believed and hoped that by increasing the time in tested subject areas, they would meet their goals/reasons listed above, and they would see an increase in test scores. While some schools did, many schools did not. 


This guide provides schools with a roadmap for the changes that must occur in order for the block schedule to have a meaningful impact on student learning. QR codes are provided throughout so that teams have everything they need to get started right away!

About the Authors

Danica Lewis has over 20 years of experience in schools, serving as an elementary teacher, an instructional coach, and later as a school and district administrator in urban and suburban schools. Danica launched and led instructional coaching in a mid-sized urban district in order to improve student learning outcomes. Danica facilitates powerful professional learning around literacy, standards-aligned instruction and assessment, rigorous teaching, instructional coaching, and leadership. In 2017, the Wisconsin Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development recognized Danica as the “Instructional Leader of the Year” for the State of Wisconsin.

Danica Lewis

Don Smith has 20 years of professional experience in public schools. Don previously served as the Director of Teaching and Learning for the Winneconne Community School District, in Wisconsin. Prior to that, Don was the Director of Teaching and Learning in the School District of Waupaca. Don also served as the Principal at Fond du Lac STEM Academy and Fond du Lac STEM Institute, as well as the District Assessment Coordinator for the Fond du Lac Area School District (WI). Don continually leads professional development sessions centered on research based practices in instruction, assessment and grading. In 2022, Don began working full time with FIRST Educational Resources.

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