Debate ignites about potential change from alternating block to daily schedule


Mae Skaja

Every school is different when it comes to the bell schedule, yet the question remains: What kind of schedule works the best for everyone?

Teacher discussions, and now some students too, about entertaining the possibility of a new bell schedule in the future has stirred up a debate in Heights!

Currently at Columbia Heights High School (CHHS), we have a Day 1 and Day 2 block schedule. Each day has four classes lasting approximately 88 minutes each, for a total of eight classes in each student’s schedule. This has been the case since around 2010, and while some of us could never dream of changing it, others are starting to talk about what a change might look like and why it may be more beneficial for students.

A non-block schedule is common in many schools, typically allowing for 7 or 8 classes every day, which equates to approximately 45-50 minutes each class with the potential for even shorter periods on early release or pepfest days. This would cut our typical class time in half and mean we go to the same classes every day, instead of having the variety of switching off each day. While the amount of time in each class overall largely wouldn’t change, how often students and teachers meet, as well as the amount of uninterrupted learning and/or work time would.

“With [an] eight-period , I would be able to have many different subjects and learn [it] all in one day,” Carolina Baldivinos (10) said. 

So what might this new schedule mean on a day-to-day basis? Arguably, class time could be used more efficiently because it isn’t stretched out to the full 88 minutes, some of which honestly does get wasted in some classrooms. Teachers also might not feel that they need to pack multiple lessons of a curriculum into a single day because they teach a given class more days of the school year. And, of course, with shorter classes, students can be more engaged since there wouldn’t be as much down time during the class period.

Although this new eight-class daily schedule might seem a bit scary at first, it does have its benefits. With the removal of the Day 1 and Day 2 schedule, there would be less confusion on what classes a student might have each day. It could also aid students who might be often absent because they wouldn’t be missing as much class time from a 40-minute class compared to our current 88-minute classes.

On the other hand, change can be intimidating and stressful, so not everyone is on board. 

“[Our current schedule] is less stress on students because it gives them a day to do homework without worrying about it being due the next day,” Simone Edstrom (10) said. 

Our ongoing four class a day schedule has its advantages as well. With four classes a day, that’s half the amount of homework you can receive daily compared to an eight class schedule. And even if you get homework in every single class, you won’t have to worry about turning assignments in until the next time you have that class. The four-class daily schedule can be much less stressful on students because it also gives them a substantial amount of work time within class, so they can receive extra one on one help from the teacher if they need it.

How might teachers feel about the possibility of the change?

“As a teacher, having so many different transitions in the same day sounds exhausting,” biology teacher Mrs. Melanie Kennedy said.

With our current block schedule, teachers can focus more on teaching during class rather than focusing on assigning homework and just simply getting through the short lessons. If we did change to an eight block schedule, teachers have to change their in class plans to fit into the shorter class time. In classes like science there might not be enough time for full labs because they would just take up too much time. Teachers would have to learn how to best teach a lesson within 45 minutes, and with that also be able to give the appropriate amount of homework to students. It would take a lot of guidance and trial and error to help teachers make this transformation into an eight block schedule.

I personally think that we should keep the four-class block schedule because I get time to finish my homework while in school and I can always get help in class because of how much work time we are able to fit into classes. I don’t feel like I’m constantly rushing around the school to so many different classes and I really don’t want to even think about getting eight separate classes’ worth of homework everyday either.
Some think the four class schedule is too boring while others think the eight class schedule would be too stressful on students. Every student learns differently, so what is truly the best way to do it?