Is block scheduling good for Fox?

October 17, 2017

The scheduling committee’s AIM meetings with students regarding the transition of the bell schedule to block has the school talking the benefits and downfalls to the A/B schedule and two staffers have a word or two about it in this week’s Point/Counterpoint opinion column.

Block scheduling proposed for next school year beneficial for student body

     As I’m sure many of you have heard, the school might be switching to block scheduling next year. I believe this would be beneficial to the student body. Schools that implement block scheduling have consistently shown academic improvement. Students will follow and A/B schedule, which means they will take four classes on one day and four different classes the next.

     Some students are worried about how absences will be affected, but Head Principal Ryan Sherp assures that they won’t be an issue. “One of the classes will be an Academic Lab where there will be time for students to get help,” Sherp said. If a student misses a day, they can catch up on what they missed and get the homework during this class. The attendance policy of missing 10 classes before possibly losing the credit will still remain in place. The times that school is in session will also remain the same as previous years.

     Another concern for students has been the long class periods being boring. To keep classes interesting, teachers can use several different types of learning within the same lesson and get students more involved. The longer class period also allows for more in-depth learning by the students and gives time for them to ask any questions they might have. Sherp wanted to assure students that their experiences with block scheduling during EOC exam times is not what the classes will be like. “A lot of our teachers during that time frame don’t teach as much as they normally would because they know students are taking multiple tests,” Sherp said.

     They have also accounted for students who go to Jefferson College for half-days at the Area Technical School or in the CAP program. “Jefferson College is already in the process of working with us in terms of adjusting their schedule,” Sherp said.

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Benefits of block scheduling proposed for next year minimal

Block scheduling has taken the country by storm with more districts switching to the schedule each year. Fox is no exception to this with staff and administrators working tirelessly to prepare to present a block schedule to the school board that would go into effect next school year.

There are many variations of a block schedule, but the schedule that is being proposed to the school board consists of four blocks each day, with each block lasting for ninety minutes.

While block scheduling is more advantageous to teachers by allowing them more time to plan, the advantages for students are minimal. With class periods that last ninety minutes, it will be harder for students to concentrate and stay focused in class. Let’s face it: it’s difficult to keep kids engaged for fifty minutes as it is–how will this affect students ability to stay focused for almost twice the amount of time?

Another disadvantage to block scheduling is the absence policy. Longer class periods means more curriculum covered in classes, and so if a student misses a day of classes, they’re going to have more trouble making up the work from when they missed.

Even though block scheduling doesn’t feel like a great schedule to use, it isn’t the end of the world. More research is needed to really decide whether this new schedule is advantageous to all parties. “There really isn’t a perfect schedule,” head principal Dr. Ryan Sherp said.

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