The distinctive class schedule at Harvard-Westlake incorporates several components (described below) that give students a practical and ongoing opportunity to learn how to manage their time wisely. At the Middle School, there are nine 40-minute periods and a six-day rotating cycle. At the Upper School, there are eight 45-minute periods and a five-day rotating cycle. While this system may sound confusing, students quickly acclimate. Additionally, there are no common lunch periods; students are free to eat when their schedule allows. The cafeteria is open early morning to late afternoon for breakfast, lunch and snacks.
- A sample of a Middle School student schedule
X (Free) Periods
A unique component of the Harvard-Westlake academic schedule is the X period incorporated into each student’s daily routine. An X period is a period during which no class has been scheduled. The Middle School schedule follows a six-day cycle, where academic classes—English, history, math, language, and science—meet on five of the six days during each cycle. The day when an academic class does not meet is called an X Period. The Upper School schedule follows a five-day cycle and most classes meet four out of the five days with an X Period on the day the class doesn't meet. The X Period is first and foremost a learning period. During this time, students may be asked to meet with their teachers to work on projects or work in the library. Once academic responsibilities have been met, students may use their X Period as a time during which they may choose the activity in which they will engage.
Activities Period is a community-wide free period used to hold club meetings, intramural sports, or just for hanging out with friends. On the Middle School campus, Activities Period is scheduled for twenty minutes once a day, whereas on the Upper School it is thirty minutes usually once a week.
Middle School Homeroom
In an effort to create a closer-knit community, a student’s second period class is his/her “homeroom.” Because of the frequent meetings, a second period teacher will ideally create a unique and informal supportive relationship with his/her students. On most days, homeroom teachers end second period by making homeroom announcements and reading the Daily Bulletin. Periodically, “extended” homeroom meetings are held during the activities period that follows second period. This extended time allows special subjects to be discussed and addressed.