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We Will Have Block Scheduling, But What Does That Mean?

News of the new scheduling system– that will be put into effect for the 2019-2020 school year– has spread through the halls of Blind Brook like a wildfire. However, with block scheduling set in stone for next year, there have been more questions than answers from students.

Will seniors who play a varsity sport still be exempt from gym? How will the whole high school fit in the Commons/cafeteria? How will buying food work? Will seniors be allowed to leave for lunch? Will juniors? How will seeing guidance counselors work? Or seeing teachers?

Ignoring the many questions that arise from the changing of our school’s schedule, block scheduling will allow for more time for each period. This will allow teachers to direct their students towards more hands-on, student-centered activities, promoting a deeper, more clear understanding of the content discussed in class. As a whole, the school cites the move to block scheduling as means of changing “the concept of what we consider to be effective learning, particularly in our ability to implement project and problem-based learning, which is another forward-thinking initiative in the District.”

Another benefit of block scheduling is that students’ schedules would be changing every day, meaning that each class would rotate to different blocks throughout the eight-day cycle (see Proposed Schedule below). Junior Bryan Moroch is most excited about this aspect: “I look forward to every day having a little bit of a different schedule. It is boring when the same schedule repeats every day. Block scheduling will make it so we don’t have the same class first or last every day.”

Many students, however, are concerned with the constantly fluctuating nature of this new system. Junior Vice President of Congress Alex Weiss said, “I feel like I am going to  need to be looking at my schedule on my phone all the time in order to know which class to go to next. Also, I already get restless sitting through forty minutes of each class, I don’t know how fifty-four minutes of each class will go.”

Another proposed benefit of block scheduling is that each student will only have six classes per day, as opposed to eight classes now, therefore the number of classes in which students would need to refocus in is less. Additionally, the decrease in the number of classes per day will lead to fewer stops and starts within the day.

Currently, with our schedule, half-credit classes meet every other day. However, with block scheduling, the district has said that these classes would meet three times in the eight-day cycle. This affects primarily art and music classes. There is also speculation as to what will happen with classes that currently have double periods, as having two back-to-back fifty-four minute classes half of the time might seem unbearable. The school said regarding this, “Each of these classes will be reviewed individually during the normal scheduling process to determine the best way to schedule each one. With a new schedule, it is important to look for the best way to schedule each class rather than to simply replicate what was done in the old schedule.”

Maybe the biggest issue with the new block scheduling system is what would happen with the parking lot after school. As anyone who has ever tried to leave school on a day in which the middle school and the high school end at the same time, it is a chaotic mess with so many students trying to exit the building at once. The school is aware of this: “A concern has been raised regarding having a common dismissal time for both the Middle School and High School. The concern is that the common dismissal will cause traffic backups and potentially dangerous situations in the parking lot during dismissal. This has been confirmed with the experiences that the Middle School/High School security monitors have had during early dismissals when both schools are dismissed at the same time. The main issue that has caused this delay is the traffic light at the exit of the Middle School/High School property. During regular dismissal, this light is timed to allow more cars to exit the property more quickly. During the rest of the day, including at early dismissal times, the green light on the exit lasts for a shorter time which causes a backup in all traffic. Other solutions are being explored.” As a whole, the 2019-2020 school year will bring about a change to our scheduling system, and it is unclear how the school will address some of the concerns brought up by the student body as well as parents, but certainly, they will be ironed out. Check out this link for more answers to your questions!

About the author

Brett Goodman