Block Schedule

The concept of the block schedule has been discussed before, but now, courtesy of everyone’s favorite pandemic, it’s arrived at Lake Region.


With decisions about next year around the corner, we ask the question: Is the block schedule actually benefiting the school?

Currently, the schedule gives four, 80 minute blocks in the day, with 10 minute passing periods for the students to go from one class to the next. The four blocks are split up mid day for a split hour for lunch and advisory. Half way through the year, the classes switch so students only have certain classes for half the year, unless it is a higher level AP class.

Among the students, it is certainly the more popular choice. Preliminary results from an advisory survey show that 80% of students prefer the block schedule. The Ranger Post has done a number of student and teacher interviews to shed light on why.

One reason for preferring the block schedule that we encountered quite frequently was having fewer classes at once. Students consistently report they are dealing with less homework every night than they did last year. They also have to divide their attention to fewer content areas, making it easier to focus on learning and get help if they’re stuck.

There are students who disagree.

A common dislike of the block schedule is the intensity of 80 minute classes. Junior Britton Beswick says, “It is hard to focus during the whole 80 minutes.” The same survey from earlier found that close to 50% of students agree with her.

James Dam, an english teacher says, “Another drawback of long blocks is that most people’s attention span is much shorter than 80 minutes. Of course you can take breaks during class, but a nice thing about our old schedule is that the passing time between shorter periods takes care of that.”

The survey also found that the 4 block day is more frequently preferred by students more enthusiastic about school.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, student opinion will not be the only factor in the potential adoption of the block schedule. Teachers have raised a number of concerns about what they perceive to be the most important element of school: learning.

As english teacher Evan Gentler points out, a problem with the schedule is “the potential to end up having a whole year go by where you don’t have a core subject. For example, if you take English semester one, and the following year it ends up being semester two, you go a whole year without a core subject which is concerning.”

Having longer classes, however, can also benefit learning. English teacher Amy Kelley appreciates how “It allows me more time to get in depth on a particular topic.” Biology teacher Maia Hansen agrees that a longer class time makes a large difference for science classrooms. “I love having longer class periods for labs” she wrote.

With only half the classes happening at once, teachers have fewer students to manage and aid outside of class.

Also, because of the built in time during the middle of the day, students are able to take more classes. “It is difficult to put an exact total on the number of classes students are taking this year as compared to an 8 period schedule,guidance counselor Mr. Chamberlain says. “It is safe to say however that the 4×4 block schedule does provide flexibility and time for students to earn additional credits.”

The block schedule is also beneficial to career center students. Chamberlain acknowledged that, “Students attend their career center for half of the school, either in the morning or afternoon. The block schedule has the benefit of greater flexibility for course options and the potential to maximize earned credits.”

Career Center junior McKenzie Smith prefers the block schedule, “I really like it because it gave me the opportunity to sign up for more classes and get more credits this year than if it were the normal 8 period day. I do miss the short classes, but I feel I am able to take advantage of my schedule more. In fact, because of the block schedule I was able to finish my graduation requirements so I can start college next year as my senior year in high school. I would not have been able to do that with the normal 8-period schedule everyone is used to. it has definitely opened up new opportunities for me and many others.”

Extracurriculars can also happen in the middle of the day for students who are busy after school. The new schedule has allowed the newspaper club to happen.

Will the block schedule be here next year? During the March 12th school board meeting, Lake Region Principle Andre Messier said there was a 90% chance we would keep it, and no one present seemed to have anything contrary to say.