Block Scheduling: Helps or Hurts?

How Block Scheduling Impacts the Days of CHS Students

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Block Scheduling: Helps or Hurts?

Catherine McCaffery, Writer

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Cranford High School is now in its third year of using a block schedule, an alternative means of structuring the school day in a way that is different from the traditional school schedule. Prior to the 2017-2018 school year, CHS structured the school day as most schools do; students sequentially attended all eight of their classes daily. Now, the days of CHS are formatted a bit uniquely. 

Under CHS’s block schedule, classes revolve around a four day rotation in which students only attend six of their eight classes everyday. The morning and afternoon classes remain constant, but the order of the classes in the morning and the classes in the afternoon changes daily. Two classes are “dropped” each day and rotate on a schedule, as well. As a result, students attend each class only three to four times a week. To compensate for the fewer number of days in which students are attending each class, class periods are elongated; they are now just under an hour long. Lunch is additionally extended, and to accommodate this additional class and lunch time, the school start time was changed from 8:15 to 8:00 in the morning.

When this structure of the school day was initially proposed, many students, teachers, and parents were critical of the concept for various reasons. Students groaned at the thought of having to wake up fifteen minutes earlier and hated the idea of having longer classes. Some teachers and parents were frustrated that the students would not be attending all of their classes everyday. Teachers also worried that, because students wouldn’t necessarily be studying for their class everyday, students would fall behind. I too was personally opposed to the block schedule at first, as I simply did not see the benefit of it, and the rotation seemed confusing and overwhelming.

However, as a CHS student who has now experienced both the traditional and the block school schedule, I strongly feel that the block schedule is a much more efficient way to structure the school day. While the rotation of classes seemed daunting at first, I caught onto the schedule within a week with no further confusion about the order of my classes. I also once feared that I would be bored out of my mind if class were to be any longer, and I didn’t think that I could physically wake up any earlier than I already did. However, I quickly realized that longer class periods allow for more elaborate lessons and a deeper understanding of the information, and getting up a few minutes earlier makes very little difference in my morning. Plus, I oddly enough feel that the day seems to go by more quickly with the block schedule, for I am attending fewer classes each day. 

In addition, although each class no longer meets five days a week, the elongated lunch block allows students to see teachers if they feel they are falling behind. Students use this long lunch period to their benefit in many other ways, as well. Sophomore James McCaffery says that “[he goes] to the library to do homework often during lunch.” Many clubs are also able to meet during lunch, allowing students to be involved in a plethora of activities as well as after-school sports. And, best of all, seniors are allowed to leave school during lunch. As a senior who is able to reap the benefits of “open campus”, I can say that it is so nice to be able to go home or out for lunch during the hour if I feel inclined to do so.

To conclude, although many had doubts about CHS’s decision to follow a block schedule, many students and teachers seem to be satisfied with the scheduling modification. The benefits of block scheduling are undeniable, and I personally feel that the block schedule was a change for the better.