This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing to use this website, you consent to our use of these cookies.

Schedule Overview

At Indian Creek, we treat time as a sacred resource, and our schedule is designed to maximize student engagement, mental and physical well-being, opportunity, and learning outcomes. 

In addition to exploring the schedule below, please check out our course catalog to learn about our curriculum. 

List of 11 items.

  • A later start to the day - right for teenagers, backed by research.

    Students arrive on campus at 8:40, with an extra 20 minutes to sleep in on Wednesdays. This late start allows students to get more sleep, which their bodies and brains need. We use the extra time in the morning for faculty collaboration and professional development, and office hours for students who would like extra help, either in-person or virtually from home via our video conferencing platform.

    What the research says:
    "High schools that start t 8:30AM or later allow for more than 60% of students to obtain at least 8 hours of sleep per school night. Teens getting less than 8 hours of sleep reported significantly higher depression symptoms, greater use of caffeine, and are at greater risk for making poor choices for substance use. Academic performance outcomes, including grades earned in core subject areas of math, English, science and social studies, plus performance on state and national achievement tests, attendance rates and reduced tardiness show significantly positive improvement with the later start times of 8:35AM or later. Finally, the number of car crashes for teen drives from 16-18 years of age was significantly reduced by 70% when a school shifted start times from 7:35AM to 8:55AM."

    Source: Wahlstrom, K., Dretzke, B., Gordon, M., Peterson, K., Edwards, K., & Gdula, J. (2014). Examining the Impact of Later School Start Times on the Health and Academic Performance of High School Students: A Multi-Site Study. Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement. St. Paul, MN: University of Minnesota.
  • 60-minute periods - "just right length"

    Each day contains 5 1-hour blocks in addition to community time and lunch. These 1-hour blocks are the "just right length" for the kind of teaching and learning we do at ICS. We find the typical 40-minute period to be too short to really get into the material. And while more than 60-minutes can be useful for certain labs and projects, it's also easy to lose interest when you go much longer than an hour. So, we have flex periods in place to expand class into when more time is justified.

    Our teachers design lessons with 60 minutes in mind. No single class is spent doing the same thing the whole time.
  • Limiting total work time for student balance

    At ICS, work is divided into "synchronous" and "asynchronous" activities. Synchronous work is done together with classmates and teachers (direct teacher instruction, class discussion, group work, etc.). Asynchronous work is done by students independently, either during the class period or as homework.
    In addition to students' work during the 60 minute class period, they may be assigned up to 20 minutes of asynchronous work to be completed outside of class, or 40 minutes for Honors and AP level courses. Additional work may not be assigned on days when classes drop.

    This means a maximum of 80- or 100- minutes of work per day when a class meets.

    Sample student course load:
    • Pre-Calculus
    • History
    • AP Literature
    • Latin 2
    • Art Foundations
    • Computer Science
    • AP Physics
    On Tuesday, that student has Pre-Calculus, AP Literature, Latin 2, and Computer Science.

    Total class time: 60 minutes x 4 = 4 hours

    Total asynchronous homework time: 20 minutes x 3 (Pre-Calc, Latin, Comp Sci) + 40 minutes (AP Literature) = 1 hour, 40 minutes

    Total school work time: 5 hours, 40 minutes

    *Exceptions to the asynchronous work time limit may be given for tests announced at least 10 days in advance and major assessments including projects and essays.

    Why do we do this? It's about balance.
    There's a lot of research out there on the diminishing returns of homework after a certain amount of time, and there's also a lot of research out there that suggests that high school students are often over-worked and over-stressed. ICS students have rigorous school work that stretches and challenges them, and yet, we don't think it is fair or right to expect our students to stay up until the wee hours of the morning just to be able to do what is expected of them. Many of our students have active commitments in the arts, athletics, service learning, and participation in activities outside of school.
  • Classes do not meet every day.

    Classes meet either 3 or 4 times a week. On days when classes do not meet, they don't have extra asynchronous homework. Total instructional time per week averages 210 minutes, which aligns with what high school schedule consultants (yes, that's a thing!) recommend.
  • Most students take 5 or 6 classes at a time

    Students can take up to 6 classes per semester (not including X-blocks, BLincs, and Global Online Academy courses). Many students take 5 classes every semester - ICS graduation requirements can be met by taking 5 classes each semester for 4 years. Many ICS students choose to stretch themselves for some or most semesters with 6 classes.
  • Students have "Get Things Done (GTD)" time most days

    Students who take 5 classes have GTD time most days, and students who take 6 classes still have GTD time once or twice each week. Students use GTD time for whatever they need: a snack, time in the Academic Resource Center getting homework done, a workout in the fitness center, meeting with their college counselor, time with a Learning Lab coach developing study strategies, meeting with a teacher, etc.

    Our 9th grade students are assigned to a classroom or the Academic Resource Center for their GTD time and may sign out with the teacher on duty to go elsewhere. By 10th grade, students are ready to manage that time on their own.
  • Year-long and semester courses

    ICS core classes meet for a full year or by semester. Check out our Course Catalog for course descriptions, graduation requirements, and typical course progression.
  • X-Block

    In addition to their core classes, Upper School students have daily "X-block" time to be used for specialized meetings such as STEM program events, chorus rehearsals, Human Development classes, clubs, and more.
  • Community Time

    Regularly scheduled time to connect with faculty and peers is an important part of the Upper School schedule as well.  Dedicated community time includes:
    • Daily advisory check-in and advisory meetings in green week
    • Weekly Upper School Meetings
    • Class meetings in Gold week
    • Students can do it all.

      At ICS, students do not have to choose between academics, athletics, arts, and other co-curriculars. We have designed the schedule so as to limit as often as possible the number of sacrifices students have to make. We build our academic schedule each year based on course selections so we can get students into as many of their top-choice courses as possible. Students at ICS very often participate in theater (rehearsals typically meet in the morning), in chorus (rehearses during X-block), in clubs (during community time), and on athletic teams (practices/games after school).

      We believe high school is a time when students should try as many opportunities as possible to explore their passions and discover new interests. We are fortunate that our schedule doesn't force students to choose between doing the things they love.
    • Before and after school

      Students may arrive on campus as early as 7:30 a.m. and can stay as late as 6:00 p.m. Before school, students can grab breakfast from the cafeteria, meet with a teacher, work in the Learning Lab, socialize in the student atrium, or - at certain times of the year - participate in play or musical rehearsals.

      After-school time is reserved for athletics practices, though students who are not participating in a sport are welcome to stay on campus to work on assignments, have a snack, etc. until as late as 6:00 p.m.
    Indian Creek school is a co-educational, college preparatory independent school, located in Crownsville, Maryland.  Students in Pre-K3 through grade 12 receive a vibrant educational experience based on excellent academics steeped in strong student-teacher connections.