Survey conducted to gauge support for block schedules

Block scheduling is a primary concern for students. Currently, the school is on a seven period a day schedule, in which the students have a heavy daily workload and are obligated to carry excessive amounts of materials to and from school. Each period in the existing schedule is 50 minutes long.

In contrast, block scheduling consists of four classes per day; each lasts for approximately an hour and 30 minutes.

Many students prefer a day with only four classes. Switching to block scheduling is specifically favorable to the students.

Tamara Clark, a 10th grade student, said, “Block scheduling will benefit the school because there will be less of a commute. Students don’t have to crowd the halls and more things will be accomplished by not switching classes so often.”

In light of the fact that some teachers will see this as an opportunity to assign a lot of busy work, Kourtney Lockwood said, “In order to reap the benefits of block scheduling, one must start with the administration and teachers; they should care about the students, their grades and learning.”

Shayla Hammond’s comments also focused on teaching.

“Instruction should be active and productive,” said the 10th grader. “Additionally, this may encourage some teachers to alter their methods of instruction so that students are more involved and empowered in their education.”

“Block scheduling afforded me the opportunity to plan and conduct lengthy units that were meaningful and purposeful,” said Ms. Francine Locker, an English instructor, who has had previous experience with a block schedule. “Students were able to utilize their time in a variety of learning groupings and innovative deliveries. I lectured for 20 minutes, conducted projects and went on field trips.

“Block scheduling is similar to college scheduling,” Ms. Locker said, “and when I worked in block, student test scores went up. It allowed for research time. If students were weak in a subject, they took a class to incorporate skills that they were lacking.”

Another individual who has experience with block scheduling from a previous school is sophomore Jocelyn Kimbrough.

“When I was in ninth grade, I switched from a six-a-day program to a block schedule,” Jocelyn said. “Things changed tremendously. Homework decreased, and the time you had to complete it increased. After the transition, I had the chance to interview the teachers. They said it was better because there was more time for planning and more one-on-one time for questions and inquires.”

Additionally, the weighty books are a worry and discomfort to many students. Research indicates that long-term exposure to lugging heavy bags can be very hazardous and lead to a series of potential physical problems. Several students are presently seeing chiropractors for back problems associated with their daily backpack lugging.

“Carrying all that stuff is so strenuous and exhausting,” said freshman Elizabeth Brown. “With only four classes a day, I would only have to carry about two books, three at the most. That would be a relief.”

With the opinions of the students voiced and the knowledge of how block scheduling would benefit the school, it is now up to the administration.