‘Rite Idea: Any Schedule But This One

4 years into the modified block, it’s clear that a consistent daily plan is overdue
Rite Idea: Any Schedule But This One

Our schedule is broken.
Crew, Flex Block, but most importantly, the block schedule. The concept is great: Longer work sessions mean we can learn more complicated topics and work on more complicated projects without interrupting our train of thought.
In practice, however, most of that time ends up wasted. In a post-COVID world, most of us don’t have an 85-minute attention span. We’re not capable of sitting down and working on the same task for that long.
It also only benefits activities that can be completed within one class period, because any momentum you manage to build during one block will just disappear in the full day until you meet next.
In addition to the less efficient use of time, the block schedule also gives us less to use in the first place. In the current block schedule, you would have 220 minutes of class time in a given week, compared to 250 minutes over five days if we had all of our classes every day. Meeting daily would mean more time in class, but because classes would be shorter, they would also be more efficient and students more engaged.
The schedule is also inconsistent, therefore impossible to adapt to. We never have the same schedule two days in a row. Students and teachers struggle to remember which class they have to attend. “What day is it?” is a question we find ourselves asking throughout the day. Even our dismissal time changes day to day, to the point that parents struggle to remember what time they need to pick up their kids.
Crew and Flex Block cause most day-to-day schedule differences, yet they have least educational value. Neither features curriculum or grades, and some students roam the halls without fear of academic consequences. During an extended Crew meeting on Jan. 9, a late-start day for testing, a fight erupted among students in the halls, and a text message about an armed intruder led to a lockdown of two-hours.
During Flex Block, even more time is wasted; some students leave at the end of sixth period rather than attending. Allowing students to take another class or have a study hall in that time slot would be more worthwhile.
Even if you can remember what schedule goes with what day, every time we have a day off — a frequent occurrence, whether it’s professional days, testing days, holidays, conference days or snow days — that goes out the window, because the entire week’s schedule has to be rewritten to balance the amount of time spent in each class.
How do we fix this mess?
While there is no perfect solution, as we wrote earlier this year, consistency is key. We need a schedule that is the same every day, no matter what.
We know this isn’t the most popular solution. In the Dec. 7 schedule survey, just 16.7 percent of the survey’s 830 respondents selected that option, compared to 69.7 percent who selected a block schedule in one form or another.
We can understand why; as students, we love the amount of time we can spend doing nothing on any given day, but we can also clearly see the consequences.

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