Barr Principal Introduces 5th Grade Changes

The new schedule next year includes nine periods, each at 42 minutes, with a 20-minute advisory period at the beginning


With several changes in the Barr Middle School schedule, parents packed into the cafeteria Thursday night for the Fifth Grade orientation.

Principal Roger Guccione went into detail about the schedule change for Barr, which he had . This change—which will save the district about $200,000—came about because of the need to cut costs within the school district to stay below the required .

The current schedule has been in place since Guccione came to Barr ten years ago. Guccione worked with a core team of teachers to figure out a schedule that would address the needs of the students, the school, testing and mandated common core standards.

Here’s a glance at the schedule for 5th graders next year:

  • Advisory — 7:50–8:10
  • Period 1— 8:11-8:53 Exploratory
  • Period 2— 8:55-9:37 Core
  • Period 3— 9:39-10:21 Exploratory
  • Period 4— 10:23-11:05 Core
  • Period 5— 11:08-11:50 Core
  • Period 6— 11:53-12:35 Lunch/Recess
  • Period 7— 12:38-1:20 Enrichment
  • Period 8— 1:22-2:04 Core
  • Period 9— 2:06-2:50 Core

The students are going back to a 9-period day starting with a 20-minute advisory period. Before the students go to advisory, they’ll all go to the cafeteria, whether or not they’re part of the breakfast program.

“This year, the change is that all periods are 42 minutes long. In the past, we had longer core periods,” said Guccione. “Many years ago we had advisory and we’re bringing it back. It’s an opportunity for students to work on social and organizational skills. It’s a (24-student) homeroom group for next year and there will be two teachers for each homeroom. We’re reinventing and redeveloping it as we speak.”

Exploratory Period

The students will have four 10-week courses that they rotate in a four-day cycle, to match the high school’s cycle. Exploratory class options include: technology, general music, project learning, art, physical education, band, orchestra and chorus.

“They take them every day of the week for ten weeks for the entire quarter,” said Guccione. If your student picks technology, project learning or art for one of the exploratory periods, the second exploratory period will be P.E. every other day, alternating with band, orchestra or chorus.

“One of the benefits of the new schedule is that, because of the extra enrichment period, all the students can participate in our music program.

Core Classes

The core classes are: “single period for social studies and science. Double period for ELA and for Math, it’s a little bit different this year. (One of the core periods) is a math period and then during enrichment period, they’ll have an additional period of math once every four days.”

Go to the school website for more in-depth explanations on the curriculum of the core classes.


Students have 21 minutes to eat and 21 minutes for recess flip flopping with the sixth graders.

“We do try to go outside whenever possible,” he said, adding that if it’s below freezing, snowed or if it’s wet, the students are not allowed outside for recess. “If it’s 40 or 35-degree day, bring their coats because we like to send them outside.”

There’s a blacktop area, open field and a new gym for recess with access to balls and board games.


Enrichment is different at Barr than Highview Elementary.

“Classes are structured during enrichment. We’re still developing what those courses are looking at … We’re looking at things centered on literature, or hands-on activities (such as an extension of invention convention). We’re looking at organizational skills, current events.”

Three out of the four days in the cycle are enrichment while the fourth is the additional math class.

Student Life

Fifth-graders stay downstairs at Barr 95 percent of the time. The only time they will see the other grade levels is on the bus, but bus seating is sorted by grade level so they will sit with their peers.

There are bathrooms that are only for fifth graders and their P.E. will be only fifth-graders. Students all get a planner at the beginning of the year.

Students change in P.E. starting with fifth grade and required uniforms are available at Cleats ‘n’ Sneaks. Students need this for the first week of school. 

For the first week of school, students get out of class five minutes early to get familiar with the bus system and learning which is theirs.

Students will have two lockers:

  • One outside their first period class with the lock provided by the school. This will be that student’s locker for the next four years. The school tries to assign them so that taller students have top lockers and vice versa.
  • The second one is at P.E. Students have to provide locks for these lockers, which are assigned by P.E. teachers. Teachers will write down lock combinations in case a student forgets.

There are 11 clubs students can participate in for free—art, concert choir, math Olympiads, science Olympiads, CARE (Creating Awareness about Recycling & the Environment), drama club, RAE (Rescue Animals Everywhere), Yearbook committee, Chamber Orchestra, Jazz Band, Student Council

Nanuet Family Resource Center after school programs for a fee. Modified sports begin in 7th grade. Some teams have cuts, some do not and teams travel throughout Rockland County to compete


To see what changes are in store for grades 6-8, check out this .


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