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Setting Up Elementary School Bell Schedules – Walk Through

Setting Up Elementary School Bell Schedules – Walk Through

Most Arizona districts have an AM and PM Attendance class at their elementary schools -- allowing for the reporting of 0, .5, and 1 attendance amounts to ADE -- and use Period Attendance, so Bell Schedule times have not mattered in the past. To use the new AZ Attendance Methods, Bell Schedule times need to account for instructional and non-instructional time (recess, lunch) in the Bell Schedule.

Question: But students at the elementary schools are going to recess and lunch at staggered times and PowerSchool only allows for 1 Bell Schedule a day in the school Calendar. How is that going to work?

Answer: Bell Schedules within a Bell Schedule!

With the passage of Senate Bill 1008 Recess and Lunch can be counted in instructional time for school 2018-19 forward. While recess and lunch breaks do not need to be accounted for, elementary schools will still need bell schedules within a Bell Schedule to account for different start and end times for students.

Step 1: Determine how many instructional blocks are needed

Think about how many differing unique schedule types are at your school, then determine how many instructional blocks are needed for each type.

For example, let’s say you have a small K-5 school:

Grade K is half day and has 1 recess

8:30 – 10:00


10:15 – 11:30 (school is out)

= 2 instructional blocks


Grades 1 and 2 take lunch and recess together

8:15 – 10:15


10:30 – 12:00


12:30 – 3:00 (school is out

 = 3 instructional blocks


Grades 3-5 take lunch and recess together

8:30 – 10:30


10:45 – 12:30


1:00 – 3:15

 = 3 instructional blocks


Each instructional block will be a period in your Bell Schedule. You will need to have/create 8 periods (3+3+2=8) and place the periods in the Bell Schedule having the correct start and end times for your instructional blocks.

Step 2: Creating extra periods

  1. At the school, navigate to Start Page > School > Years and Terms.

  2. Click the appropriate Year link (not Edit Terms). The Edit School Year page appears. The Periods drop-down will display the current number of Periods for the School year.

  3. Add the number of additional periods needed with this number and select that number in the drop down. (If current periods = 4 and you need 8 additional periods, you would select 12), then submit.

  4. Navigate to Start Page > School > Periods. The newly created periods will be displayed.

  5. Click each period and assign a descriptive Period Abbreviation and Period Name.

  • Tip: The Abbreviation should be indicative of the attendance block represented. For example, you may choose to call your two blocks for K grade KA and KB. Then, for Grades 1 and 2 group of students you would call the periods 12A, 12B, and 12C, and then for grade 3-5 students you would set the abbreviation to 35A, 35B, 35C.

  • Additional Tip: Even if multiple grades have the same recess and lunch times, you may want to create periods for each grade level so the period abbreviations align with each grade level (1A, 1B, 1C for grade level 1, and so on)

Step 3: Add the periods to the Bell Schedule

  1.  At the School, navigate to Start Page > School > Bell Schedules

  2. Click Edit Schedule, then click New. The New Bell Schedule Item page appears.

  3. Select each new period created and enter the correct Start Time and End Time. Make sure the ‘Counts for ADA’ checkbox is selected.

  4. Repeat for all newly created fields.

  5. On the Bell Schedule: [bell schedule name] page, click the period and then click Delete to remove the old bell schedule items previously used for attendance.

Step 4: Update attendance classes to have the new periods.

After the periods are added to the Bell Schedule, the teacher’s Attendance Classes Sections need to be updated to meet during the new periods. Attendance sections can consist of more than one instructional block. Attendance is taken once and is applied to each period in the section.

For example, at your schools, you have teachers take attendance in the morning, then again after lunch. In this case, you would configure the Grade 1 AM Attendance class to meet periods 12A and 12B, then configure the Grade 1 PM Attendance class to meet period 12C.

  1. At the school, navigate to Start Page > Teacher Schedules, then select a teacher.

  2. Click the Sec # link for the teacher’s first Attendance Class.

  3. In the Schedule grid, select the appropriate period(s) for the class.

  4. Repeat for each of the teacher’s attendance classes.

  5. Repeat for each teacher in the school.



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