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Building a master schedule is an enormous undertaking many Catholic schools and Dioceses face each year. Between the requirements students need at each grade level, teacher and room availability, course requests, and more, planning out a high school schedule that works for everyone can consume more hours (or weeks!) than any other school process.

Whatever type of master schedule your school adopts, it will only be successful with thorough planning, organization and evaluation of the scheduling model, as well as proper teacher/administrator training. Only when a school reflects on its priorities and considers all its options, can they begin to create a master schedule.

If you are passionate about your schedule but every year find this task to be a time-consuming headache, it is time to find the tools to help you meet your goals. By following these six simple steps, you can create the best master schedule ever.

"Our schedule is exceptionally complex, and AdminPlus has delivered results for our students that have surpassed our expectations. With the help of your product, 97% of our students have been scheduled successfully for the upcoming semester - a number that we could have only dreamed about a few years ago."

- Thomas Barhorst, Principal
  Ursuline Academy
  Cincinnati, OH

1. Know your Terminology.

If you haven't built a schedule in the past, getting a solid understanding of the difference between a singleton and a doubleton, teacher pools and room pools, conflicts and constraints, among others, is essential. Planning out a successful high school schedule requires a solid grasp of the variables involved for the outcome to optimize the student experience, maximize instructional time and support teachers.

2. Assigning Courses to your Students.

Depending on the school model you use, you can choose to assign courses to students, allow them to choose their own, or do a combination of both. Students may submit course requests online, you can generate sign-up sheets via course request forms, or you can produce a Master Course List with details such as level, credits, weights, etc. and print any of these details on students’ schedules.

3. Know Your Options: Scheduling Preferences and Requirements.

Once your school has considered its priorities, options and trade-offs you can create your master schedule. This includes determining the number and length of periods or period exclusions, prerequisites, course priority levels, block rotations, and more. Excluding periods, for example, can accommodate part-time teachers, break up the number of courses in a row, or allow for scheduling staff meetings. The schedule you create needs to coincide with your school model, teacher availability, special programs, and class size.

4. Fine Tune and Perfect Your Schedule.

An effective schedule will provide students with opportunities to take the courses they need to be college ready. With the right combination of core courses, advanced options and electives, the schedule will provide both students and teachers with an equitable balance of classroom study and strategic instructional planning.

5. Use Software to Build with Control and Confidence.

Master Schedule Builder. It can help you prep your Course Requests, listing all students' requests by department to ensure appropriate course selections; and generate a tally report of students who requested each course by grade, gender, or other criteria.

Time pools - or groupings of possible meeting times that can be linked to courses - allow for courses that meet only some days in the rotation, or meet more than one period on some days. The Master Schedule Builder will try to select a room from the pool that matches both the course and teacher preferences. The builder also tests each possible meeting time and shows you which times are the best. You can also keep your options open by saving and retrieving builds any time during the process.

6. Evaluate and Resolve Conflicts.

Once you have a schedule in place, it is time to evaluate and resolve conflicts, such as exceeding section optimums, higher priority courses, and teacher availability. By working with the most difficult courses first, other sections and blocks will fall into place around them. And, if using a schedule builder like Rediker’s, you can easily click and view student schedules and conflicts at any stage of the build, allowing you to evaluate how to adjust your build to maximize course fulfillment and finalize your master schedule.

Master Scheduling is a complex procedure that requires the careful management and direction of a school’s resources. Once your school reflects on its priorities, considers its options, and selects the best schedule components, they will be well on their way to truly mastering the master schedule at your school.

About Rediker Software

For 40 years, Rediker Software has been a leader in school administrative software for private, public, international, religious and independent schools. The company’s products include AdminPlus, a cloud-based SIS solution, TeacherPlus Gradebook, ParentPlus and StudentPlus Web Portals, RediSite Responsive Websites, AdmissionsPlus, and Teacher Evaluator. For more information about Rediker Software, please visit