Block days provide extra time in classes

Natalie Chevalier, Staff Writer

With monthly liturgies and occasional assemblies on the school year calendar, teachers and students are accustomed to having corresponding block days. However, the lengthy, no-event block days are different from last school year’s event-only block day schedule. “There was a committee that met last January, and looked at the calendar…looked at what events naturally happened in the calendar, and came up with a schedule for the block days,” principal Dr. Sue Skinner said.

With block days scattered throughout the calendar, the change from the eight 40-minute periods to the four 80-minute periods requires teachers to be flexible with their yearly schedules. “I think that they’re too intermittent. I think they’re just random…it makes it very difficult for planning. As a teacher, when we have these [block days] I love them. I think there’s a lot you can do and that there’s a good pace to it, but I’d like to see us go the whole way with it,” social studies teacher, Mr. Ken Pauly said.

Like last year, the block schedule especially benefits science teachers, enabling them to complete lab activities during these long periods. “When you’re doing science experiments, a lot of times the independent variable is timed.. if you only have a 40 minute class period, taking away the instructions, set up, clean up, you only have 20-25 minutes left to do the experiment,” biology teacher, Mr. Bob Lyons said.

These long periods allow enough time for teachers to do things they otherwise wouldn’t be able to do, and allot students longer work time. “At one point, classes can only be so long and I feel like teachers just drag on, but at the same time you have more time to get homework done,” senior Sammi Johnson said.

On the other side of the spectrum, some students find it difficult to sit in class for 80 minutes. “They should make the passing time longer too… if the classes are doubled the passing time should be too,” sophomore Jeffrey Weaver said.

Lunch time is also doubled, giving teachers and students 20 extra minutes to eat. “I hate them. Lunches are like 40 minutes long, who needs that amount of time to just eat?” sophomore Danny Fritsche said.

With the no-event block days, teachers will continue to modify and work on new schedules. “When we first conceptualized the idea, we thought that the 80 minutes would just give people the flexibility to tie in new and different things. If it doesn’t work, we can go back to just doing blocks with events. We’ll see how it goes, take a shot at it, and see what the feedback is, and adjust accordingly,” Dr. Skinner said.