Book Review

Fundamentals of School Scheduling

Reviewed by Nan S. Spalding, Principal,
Macdonald Intermediate School, Fort Knox, Ky.


This surprisingly scholarly and thoughtfully written procedural book, Fundamentals of School Scheduling, by Gwen Schroth about a truly deadly subject may help prepare the new principal, guidance counselor or other responsible person for the horror and frustration of building a schedule.

The reader who has experienced the management of a school schedule will nod, agree and take notes to remember to include certain factors in next year's scheduling process. Until the neophyte has the experience, he or she cannot possibly comprehend the task nor, once done, the lack of appreciation by those for whom the schedule was prepared.

In her thoughtful analysis of the problem of class scheduling, Schroth has emphasized the first priority of a schedule must be the instruction of students. She has considered the developmental needs (physical, social, emotional and intellectual) of the elementary and middle school children and has not glossed over that these needs are, at times, in conflict. She also has considered the various ways students are grouped, student behavior, teacher preferences, teacher planning time, courses offered and the unwieldy obstacles lunch time places in a schedule.

Good scheduling requires change, and staff development is suggested as a means to ease faculty and staff into new ways of thinking about scheduling. Traditional and not-so-traditional models are reviewed for the reader. An appendix provides a list of time-saving computer programs for scheduling assistance.

The book will be useful for elementary and middle school principals who wrestle with the octopus of class scheduling. Schroth's process of preparing to build the schedule is unique and the book's most valuable contribution.

(Fundamentals of School Scheduling, by Gwen Schroth, Technomic Publishing Co., Box 3535, Lancaster, Pa. 17604, 1997, 131 pp. with index, $34.95 softcover)