What You Need to Know About Block Scheduling

Schedule Changes May Arrive in 2020


Photo Credit: Haddon Heights School District

Sample block schedule from Haddon Heights School District

Jamie Betten, Contributing Writer

Photo Credit: Haddon Heights School District
Sample block schedule from Haddon Heights School District

Haddonfield Memorial High School has had the same schedule for decades and now change may be on the horizon. Block scheduling has been a hot topic of conversation for the past year.  This type of schedule is vastly different and, not surprisingly, some students are feeling uncertain and slightly intimidated. The confusion that is surrounding this change hinges on what appears to be many options for scheduling and what the real consequences this translates into for students.  Opinions appear to be widely split on whether this is a good change or a bad change here on campus.

Block scheduling is a format that only incorporates four classes a day, but they are longer. In speaking with HMHS Principal Mrs. McHale, she believes that periods will be 80 minutes (1 hour and 20 minutes). Days will also alternate, so for example, if students have a math one day, then history will be the next day. 

Lunch could end up being pretty complicated. Mrs. McHale mentioned one common lunch, meaning there would be no more A,B, or C lunch. The hour-long lunches would provide a time for clubs and possible programming for social and emotional well-being. Further, the population of the school continues to grow, so it will be interesting to see how they can manage so many kids for an hour. Lunch will definitely be a challenge for teachers and students alike under this construct. 

Mrs.McHale explains how the school’s version of block scheduling might work, she explains, “One possible schedule we were reviewing is a modified block where there are 3 regular days and two block days”.  Here is an example from the Haddon Heights High School website:

Many students do not agree with the change. In a very small sampling poll, 15 students anonymously reported that they did not want the change and believed it was not beneficial. While this is not necessarily representative of our entire population, it demonstrates a strong stance. Mrs. McHale mentioned that a group of students were involved in the process, which is a positive. 

With many students still questioning the need for change, Mrs. McHale explained, “Extended periods provide opportunities for project-based learning and more time for student centered activities.” Having an hour and 20 minutes may provide a style of learning that many students need. There may not have to be as much stress about outside work and tests as a result. Having block schedules could give time to manage the student body’s school lives. 

Change is never easy, and it looks like block scheduling may be a reality students will have to learn to accept. Being able to only have four classes a day with the possibility of a new way of learning could help students understand the material better and ultimately the student body may be more successful.  Keeping an open mind and seeking support when necessary are encouraged.

The first taste of block scheduling will be this Thursday October 17 and Friday October 18. It will give students the chance to test the new scheduling and hopefully provide thoughtful feedback. Remembering this process is focused around the students and with the goal of providing them with an excellent education may help ease the growing pains felt in the transition. For now, the student body will wait and hope for the best.