This school year Ukiah High School has decided to adopt a new type of schedule. Instead of having six classes, 55 minutes each, the administration decided to change it to four classes each 90 minutes long.
Implementing block scheduling has been found useful in many high schools around the country. With block scheduling, there are fewer classes per day, translating to students focusing more and spending more time learning fewer subjects. It is also a way for teachers to connect with their students. Another advantage is that theoretically, teachers will have more time to prepare their lessons and focus on the curriculum.
While the advantages to block scheduling are compelling, there can be disadvantages with change. With this schedule, classes that are usually taught in a year are now taught in half a year. With such a crunch for time, there can be more homework, and lessons are accelerated. Furthermore, student absences may have a much more significant effect on student learning and grades.
Ukiah High Junior Lilith Lefebvre is feeling the stress of this new school schedule. She expressed feeling that having less class time year-round has increased her overall amount of homework and classwork. Moreover, Lefebvre believes that students are not really taking in the information but just getting homework and assignments done quickly to get a decent grade. Even though Ms. Lefebvre does not like the new schedule; she said that she does have many friends who do.
Jessica Lee, a reading resource teacher at Ukiah High School, likes this new schedule. She says, “[i]t is great to have 90 minutes classes instead of 45 minutes because it gives you more time to teach and you don’t have to worry about as many transitions every period.” She feels that many teachers are enjoying teaching fewer classes and managing fewer kids. Lee stated that the staff of Ukiah High had been considering a change of schedule for some time. “It is becoming more common in schools, especially in high schools. I’ve heard that teachers like having longer classes and more time to teach,” said Lee. She surmised that the block scheduling is better for distance learning, saying, “[l]ast semester most teachers were teaching at least 150 kids and since we were in distance learning they had to call them individually to check-in. This was pretty much impossible for teachers.” Lee explained, “[s]o now with the new schedule, teachers have about 90 to 100 students each semester, which makes it a little more manageable.” According to Lee, this new schedule is also a way for teachers to get to know students better and help them more effectively.
As with any change, Ukiah High students and staff will have to adapt to the new expectations. UHS News will continue to document whether the new schedule proves advantageous and succeeds in implementation.