This year, students in the fifth through twelfth grades were required to take a survey about their overall experience and satisfaction with Casady school. Results revealed that while an above-average amount of students felt that they were responsible for their own success and feel academically challenged, many felt unconfident, incapable of handling the workload, and received an alarmingly small amount of sleep. However, whenever the student body was asked whether we believed administration would take action to resolve any of these issues, we responded no. Though stress and a lack of sleep are not conducive to our mental health, some believe that this is an inevitable side effect of attending a rigorous, college-prepatory school like Casady; if we were to lighten work load in response to these results, the quality of the education received might be affected. If we were to shorten the school day by eliminating breaks, students might not be able to consult teachers about their work, and conflicts would arise regarding club meetings. Because of these reasons, the response to these results might not be to try to alter the system we have now, but an attempt to redesign it altogether to a Block System.
A Block System is a college-like type of scheduling in which we would only have three to four alternating classes a day for around 75-90 min length instead of five to six, forty-five minute classes everyday. Below are two examples of block schedules:
Many schools such as Novato High School in California, have implemented a block schedule for two days of the week, while others such have Louisville Collegiate in Louisiana have adopted a full block system schedule. By narrowing the amount of classes taken each day and expanding the time spent in these classes, students are able to have more productive classes in which they can delve deeper into the daily topic and even start work which they can ask the teacher questions about. We could maintain a daily music, activities, and athletics period, but still be able to shorten the length of our day. The longer period would eliminate the necessity for the science classes to have the double as a lab period. The workload and academic rigor could be maintained, but students would have more time to interact and exchange with their teachers regarding the work.
This system provides benefits to a student both in and out of the classroom . The opportunity for a student to limit their focus to a few subjects a day might prove conducive to higher quality work and increased effort and energy shown by students in class. Athletes would be less fatigued from the the day and be able to leave at an earlier hour, start homework earlier, and gain more sleep. The shorter schedule would also mean more time for students to be at home and spend time with their families, which is currently rare due to the long hours and traveling for sports on weekends.
The block system does have cons, such as the fact that students who missed a class due to traveling for sports could potentially be missing out on two class periods versus one. However, no scheduling system is ideal and students will inevitably be inconvenienced at one point or another. The block schedule would overall improve the daily lives of each student, and address the pressing issues presented in the survey. It could prove not only conducive to students’ academic lives but home lives as well, through enhancing their classroom time while shortening the school day.