Editorial: Schools Should Implement Block Scheduling

Maeve Reiter, Reporter

Imagine a high school day but with half the classes, half the assignments, and half the homework.

Hershey High School should switch from period scheduling to block scheduling. 

Most middle and high schools currently have a period schedule in place. Period schedules usually consist of seven to nine 40-minute periods throughout the school day. Students have all of their main core classes each day. 

Block scheduling, according to the National Education Association (NEA), consists of four or five longer classes that are an hour and a half to two hours a day, instead of seven to nine 45-minute classes. There are two types of block scheduling: A/B, which has two alternating days with different classes each day, and “4×4”, where eight classes are split between two separate semesters. 

While period schedules may cover a wider range of material and classes each day, both versions of block scheduling have longer periods, which could significantly and positively impact a school day.

Block scheduling slows the pace of school, which allows students to focus on fewer assignments each day. Denise Pope, a founder of Challenge Success, an organization that partners with schools and students to create a healthier learning environment, said in an interview with Stanford’s Graduate School of Education, “Schools can change their schedule from eight, 42 minute classes in a row to a type of block schedule where fewer classes meet for longer periods each day. This changes the pace; it allows you to go more in-depth in the learning.” Longer classes would create an opportunity to dive deeper into material in class without having to wait until the next day to finish learning.

Pope also said, “[There is] time for teachers and students to meet in small groups.” Smaller group learning allows students and teachers to become familiar. Additionally, the teacher is able to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each student in their classes when given more time with them.

With block scheduling, students would have fewer classes to study for each day and could work toward improving their grades. According to the School Superintendents Association (AASA), block scheduling improves student grades and performance in school. An article published by the AASA says, “Students’ academic performance is not harmed and many individual schools, based on several selected variables, have reported increases in student performance.” Block scheduling gives students fewer classes to focus on each day and more time to study. 

A switch to block scheduling would not only impact students but teachers as well. There would be time to take lessons further and engage with students more. The NEA said, “The most valuable benefit of these longer periods is the opportunity for more in-depth learning.” Teachers can spend more time with students to create a comfortable learning environment for group work and contribute more time to working with each student. 

Many schools are making the switch to block scheduling. Contact the Derry Township school board about the necessity if changing schedules.