How to Create a Middle School Master Schedule

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There are a number of considerations when creating a middle school master schedule. Among them, what the student needs are in terms of intervention or special needs; what core classes must be offered and what electives can the school afford to offer; staff teaching credentials; what school issues exist; the second language learner population and the number of Tier 2 and Tier 3 intervention students. All of these considerations must be understood and addressed in order to develop a workable master middle school schedule.

Prelmiinary Groundwork

    Enter all the course numbers on a spreadsheet, to include core courses and requests for additional courses.

    Forecast and tally up how many students will occupy each course. This number will be used to determine the number of sections to offer for each course.

    Tally up the number of teachers available to teach each section. Federal law requires that teachers be “highly qualified” to teach in their assigned subject areas. Be sure the teachers needed are highly qualified.

Designing the Master Schedule

    Assign each section a number. Enter all the courses and each section onto a spreadsheet.

    Assign a class period for each section number. Use the previous year’s numbers if they’ve remained the same. Transfer the teachers’ assignments, section numbers, room numbers and days of the week if they have changed. Make any other necessary changes.

    Add in periods in which teachers can plan and prepare lesson plans.

    Conduct a thorough check on the number of assignments for each teacher, to ensure it doesn’t exceed any contractual agreements. For example, if two prep periods a day are required, check each teacher’s schedule to be sure there are two. If a teacher isn’t highly qualified for a specific subject, be sure that teacher doesn’t exceed the number of sections he is allowed to teach.

Assigning Rooms

    Enter a room number for each section.

    Enter the days of the week for each section in each room.

    Flash the master schedule on a whiteboard so that select staff can review for accuracy and to ensure that all interests have been considered.


    • Have two or three people familiar with master scheduling review the schedule to check for inaccuracies

      Consider using a school administration software program to aid in the development of a schedule. Pearson School Systems or Catperra Software are two such programs.


About the Author

Susan Ruckdeschel began writing in 1989 as a guest columnist for the "Rochester Democrat and Chronicle." Her work continues to blossom, with the recent publication of a handbook for teachers and numerous other books soon to be released. Ruckdeschel has a Master of Science in education from Nazareth College and is completing her Doctor of Philosophy in educational leadership.

Photo Credits

  • Airline Schedule image by Nikolay Okhitin from