The Perks of Modified Block Scheduling

The Perks of Modified Block Scheduling

Just a couple of weeks ago, students here at Lenape High School turned in their choices for classes for the 2015-2016 school year. Picking classes for the upcoming year can always be a tough decision, but this year with the new block scheduling to be implemented, it may have been a little harder for many people.

Patricia Thomas (’17) said, “I was a little stuck when picking classes as I wanted to double up in science, but unlike now where you need a study hall due to two periods of labs, next year I wouldn’t need to take one and that was a tough choice to make.”

Many other students also seemed to be unsure when asked about their feelings on this major revamp of a schedule most students have been following since middle school. To find out the truth behind modified block scheduling, I sat down to talk to Mr. Westman.

The biggest question most people seemed to be wondering was, what was the inspiration to implement the schedule in the first place?  Mr. Westman explained, “With our current schedule, the bell rings for 5 minutes between all 12 periods and the extensive amount of time traveling between classes adds up. By reducing the schedule to six classes a day on a four day rotation, you reduce hallway time, and with the time saved, we can not only increase instructional time in the classroom, but also add in a unit lunch which extends normal lunch time of twenty five minutes to fifty minutes.”

Mr. Westman then went on to describe how reducing the number of classes per day for kids with eight instructional classes would also help reduce a lot of the stress these students feel and at the same time would give them a sense of time management.

“In college, classes do not meet every day, and with our new schedule, since students will only have 6 classes a day, this lends itself to help prepare them for college life,” explained Mr. Westman.

When I talked to Megan Quimby (’17), she seemed a little worried about this, “ All I can imagine is that teachers will say we don’t have you tomorrow so here’s a lot of homework.”

Since classes will not meet every single day, kids will have to be pay attention to when they do their work according to what class they have the next day and when assignments are due. Another way this new schedule will be providing the students with more responsibility is in the unit lunches themselves. With more time, kids will not only be allowed to eat, but also visit teachers for extra help and meet with club advisors or get some of their homework done early. It is all up to the student on how they want to spend this time.

You may be wondering now are there any more benefits to this new schedule?

“Of course!” exclaims Mr. Westman. “Another positive side to this new schedule is the fact that there are 3 classes in the morning and 3 in the afternoon which rotate every day. Rotating the classes not only adds in variety, but for students that have vigorous classes very early in the morning or late in the day, it will not be as big a problem as it currently is because this class will switch out with another class 3 times that week.” Another benefit within this same concept is that if a student ever has to leave early for a sports competition they will not get hit by missing the same class every time they leave because all the classes will rotate.

The process on devising how the district would implement the modified block scheduling and exactly what it would change from the schedule we currently follow took up to a year.

According to Mr. Westman, “The district really did their homework by visiting several other schools such as Cherry Hill East and Kingsway High School in the past year along with teachers and students.”

The school went through several staff meetings, student presentations, and parent meetings to thoroughly inform all the individuals involved in the process of what is to come. The proposition was finally approved in January by the Board of Education.

Based on the great response from these students he believes that, “Our students are going to love the new schedule!” He said he understood that some people were apprehensive at first because with change you don’t know what to expect, but he truly believes this will be a positive change for Lenape High School and the whole Lenape District!