Chaordic: A harmonious coexistence between chaos and order; from Dee Hock’s seminal book Birth of the Chaoridc Age.
As a serial entrepreneur, Ms. Gausman-Burnett, and a student-athlete, Ms. Cravens, we have been witnesses to individual and group failure and success. In this age of innovation and disruption, individuals who possess the skills to navigate both order and chaos will triumph over adversity. Over the past four years the high school has made frequent schedule changes, switching from semester-based classes, to a trimester system, and now we have yearlong classes; change is nothing new at Maryknoll. However, in the 2017-2018 school year the Maryknoll Upper School embarked on their own implementation of ordered-chaos: the flexible schedule.
This year’s chaordic schedule was designed to
provide students with the opportunity to manage
their own time while balancing school work and extracurricular activities.
If you walk onto the Maryknoll high school campus today you will see students congregating at the tables in Roger’s Hall, studying in the Learning Commons and in classrooms. There are no bells or announcement and students are reading beside their peers eating lunch or working on art projects. At 5 minutes to noon, doors on all three floors open and students pour out of classrooms going up and down stairways onto their next learning adventure. Some will move directly to another class, others will go and grab lunch, a few will walk to the art rooms for studio time, and several will prepare to leave campus -- their day is done.
To an outside observer this might look like chaos; students are all over the place and it seems like anyone can be anywhere at any time. For the most part that is true; students only have to be in a classroom during their scheduled classes. However, despite appearances, there is a fine-tuned order; the snack bar opens from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm everyday, students can study quietly in the learning commons from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm, and everyone is required to be on campus by 8:45 am. Attendance is taken in each class and there are real consequences for skipping.
Instead of relying on time outside of the school day
to complete assignments, students can seek out their instructors for assistance.
This year’s chaordic schedule was designed to provide students with the opportunity to manage their own time while balancing school work and extracurricular activities. Student schedules were constructed to incorporate “flex time” during the school day so we all can complete our work on campus and learn collaboratively. The flex time was not only designed for students; faculty now has additional time to prepare to teach classes, work one-on-one with students, and provide study sessions in preparation for big assignments and exams. Instead of relying on time outside of the school day to complete assignments, students can seek out their instructors for assistance. On the flip-side, when a member of faculty sees their students struggling they can coordinate to meet them to provide additional support.
At Maryknoll students have the opportunity to learn time-management, resilience, and grit before going off to college. Students get a low-stress introduction to a world without bells or set schedules. Everyone is working together to learn the skills required to find success in an increasingly loud and chaotic world.
By bringing some of that chaos to our campus we have had to create structure for ourselves. Students at Maryknoll learn how to assign order to their day by creating dedicated study periods, collaboration periods, and tutor periods in their unique schedule. In the process we have all learned that it is up to each individual to report to class on-time, to ask for help when we need it, and to consider each other as we share community space. Students are learning how to be adults without the same pressures adults shoulder, and in the process we are thriving.
"New innovations and disruptive technologies
will reshape the job market over the next 10 years." - The Economist
Looking beyond the classroom, the job of teachers is increasingly difficult. Our faculty is no longer preparing students for the jobs that exist today. According to The Economist, new innovations and disruptive technologies will reshape the job market over the next 10 years. The positions that will be available for our students will undergo drastic change by the time they graduate from college. The best way to prepare every student is to teach them that learning happens all the time, both inside and outside of the classroom. If we can help our students learn today that they must choose to seek out something new every day for the rest of their lives, we help prepare them for whatever the future holds. The flexible schedule will prepare all Maryknoll students; they will know why it is so important to look for knowledge outside of the traditional learning environment.
This blog post is a perfect example of the importance and value of flex-time. Rather than creating this composition alone teachers and students learn and work together. The future is guaranteed to be chaordic; thankfully students at Maryknoll will be prepared for whatever is put before them.