Block Schedule: Helpful or Harmful? Greenwood Students Share Their Opinions on the Recent Switch to Block Scheduling.

By Annabel Justice, Reporter

Throughout the United States, schools are switching to block scheduling at dramatically increasing numbers. According to “All Around the Block: The Benefits and Challenges of a Non-Traditional School Schedule,” “More than 50 percent of high schools in the United States are either using or considering a form of block scheduling.”

Among the schools that made the switch from a traditional seven-period day to block scheduling, in which there are four classes each day that meet for a longer amount of time, is our very own Greenwood High School.

This new block scheduling trend has sparked unusual debates between students at Greenwood on which type of schedule they feel is the most beneficial. Some students think block schedule creates more stress, but others believe it is less stressful. Several students think they receive more homework with block scheduling, but others argue they receive less.

Most students feel that block scheduling helps them focus in class and helps the day go by quicker. However, some students would all but agree with that idea. Katrina Fjeld, a freshman at Greenwood High School, says, “The classes are way too long causing kids to lose focus. It’s made me more irritable because of how long the classes are. I get agitated sitting for that long and trying to work on a subject. With the traditional schedule, you have the same classes all year long and they’re the perfect length.”

She is not alone in her thoughts as there are many more of her fellow students who feel the same way about the length of classes. The argument is valid especially when a student is in a class they do not find enjoyable.

Additionally, with classes being longer, more content is covered in one day. With block scheduling, students are essentially covering two days worth of content in one. Emily Moore, a freshman, says, “Sometimes because the classes move faster they are harder to keep up with and understand material, especially in AP or pre-AP classes when the material should be covered in multiple days instead of cramming it into one.”

Many argue that because the classes move so quickly, students may often have multiple tests or quizzes within a week. This is possible to cause more stress, as students must constantly study and worry about quickly approaching tests that are back to back.

However, despite this criticism against block scheduling, many students feel like block schedule helps them. A benefit to block schedule that many students bring up is how much easier it is to either catch up or get ahead on classes.

For example, a student could take Biology the first semester and then Chemistry the next semester if they wish to get ahead in Science. The same goes for Math, as a student could take Algebra 2 the first semester and then Pre-Calculus the next semester.

Lola Cary, a student at Greenwood, says, “Block schedule offers the option to potentially finish school early, finish classes faster, and also you get to switch out your classes after one semester which is good if you did not like a class and wish to get ahead on certain subjects.”

Furthermore, most students along with teachers will say that block scheduling is less chaotic because they are not constantly switching many times each day. An average student will be in nine different locations participating in nine different activities in a seven-hour school day with the traditional schedule. An average teacher must teach five classes, dealing with 125-180 students and multiple preparations. With block scheduling, teachers teach half that amount of students each semester.

Also, the traditional schedule releases hundreds of students into noisy, chaotic hallways seven times a day for roughly five minutes at a time which may fuel discipline problems. It can also cause class time to be lost when students must continually shuffle from one class to another.

Elizabeth DeMarse, another student at Greenwood, says, “With the regular schedule, you have to switch the subject you’re learning about very frequently throughout the day. Also, time is lost that could be spent working when switching between these classes.”

Conclusively, there are many pros and cons to both block and traditional scheduling. Both have positive traits, and both have negative traits. Some may say that block scheduling is a trendy approach that fails to boost academic work. Others may say that the traditional schedule is old, chaotic, and fragmented. However, in the end it comes down to our own individual opinions on which schedule helps us learn in the most effective way.