Traditional vs. Block Scheduling

History teacher Paul Rykken and psychology teacher Anthony Boerger are two teachers whose AP classes would possibly benefit from a switch to traditional scheduling. The two are shown here with their pink hats on FFA's hat day.

Ever since the 1999-2000 school year BRFHS has been under the block scheduling format. This gives us our four class day we’ve become accustomed to. However, recently the school board has been doing research to see if we should move back to a traditional schedule. This would give us a seven hour day, similar to what is used in the middle school currently.

Instead of having four classes each being 85 minutes long and ending the day with a 45 minute focus period, we would have a seven period day with six classes and a study hall.

One of the main advantages to traditional scheduling is that it is more conducive to AP classes. Instead of teaching a class for one semester and then holding review sessions in the morning before school for the remainder of the year, we would simply have the class all year.

“It would be easier for AP classes because with a block schedule we don’t always get through everything in the normal class time,” said junior Olivia Lee.

Other research has shown that not only do students usually perform better on AP tests with a traditional schedule but it also helps in math and world language courses. When students have these classes all year they retain the information better than if they have a semester off between taking their next class.

So with possibly better scores on AP and standardized tests pushing towards traditional scheduling, what are some of the arguments for keeping the block style?

One major thing that block scheduling offers is a higher number of classes taken throughout high school. This allows for greater diversity in a student’s classes. Also some students like the change that block scheduling offers at term ends.

“[If we had traditional scheduling] you may be stuck with a bad teacher for a whole year, not just a semester,” said junior Eric Helstad.

Another positive for block style is that the student workload could be substantially lower, depending on the classes they choose.

“[In a traditional format] you would possibly have homework in a lot more classes than now,” said senior Megan Rykken.

Not only does block style reduce student homework load, but it also allows for greater prep time for faculty. In our current block style teachers have three classes a day with one block for prep time. During this time teachers can grade papers, set up lesson plans, or even meet with students. And if we switched back to traditional format the teachers would teach five to six classes a day and have one duty period and one prep period. So this would cut a teachers prep time from 85 minutes to roughly 50 minutes.

With both formats having prominent benefits its a very hard decision to make, do we keep the block or do we switch back to traditional. But now it’s up to the school board and their research to determine if block scheduling is to come to an end here at BRFHS.