Unlocking Time Releases Free Scheduling Assessment

Unlocking Time has released a free tool for schools to assess how time is being used and whether it can be used more effectively for student and teacher professional learning.

Unlocking Time is an initiative of ed tech developer Abl that's received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The purpose of the initiative is to help K–12 schools "adopt new time strategies that fuel student-centered learning. The project will gain new insights on how U.S. schools structure their time, provide a rich set of resources to help K–12 school leaders align time and resources with their values and provision administrators from eligible high-need schools with new master scheduling tools and services to implement new time-based strategies." Unlocking Time provides several digital tools for schools already, which can be found in its resource library.

The new School Time Assessment is designed to help schools evaluate:

  • Staff time;
  • Academic programming;
  • Calendars; and
  • Bell schedules.

It polls staff on their perceptions of how time is used in the school to facilitate discussion and to help identify strategies for aligning the use of time with the school's goals.

Sample output from the School Time Assessment
Sample output from the School Time Assessment

Sample output from the School Time Assessment

"This tool will open dialog in a way that is inclusive of the entire faculty, and help give voice to our educators as we consider new time strategies," said Tim Wagner, associate high school principal for program planning and innovation at Pennsylvania's Upper St. Clair High School, in a prepared statement. "This will help with buy-in for any changes we ultimately make because our staff can see that decisions were informed by their input and experience."

"The assessment helped us to identify areas where high-quality adult learning and student learning intersect, where they may potentially be in conflict, and how time plays a role in that," said Riley Johnson, principal at New Technology High School in Napa Valley Unified School District, also in a prepared statement. "This is about grounding conversations about time and scheduling in evidence and examples, not just our opinions. We can see, for the first time, how well we're aligning our use of time with our values and priorities."

The School Time Assessment is live now. Schools can participate in the survey by visiting unlockingtime.org/register.

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 25-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).


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