Block is better

Our Position: LT should integrate block scheduling and a later start time next year.

Most students would agree that remote learning last year was difficult and trying at times. However, these hiccups were mainly due to the universally stressful time and lack of social interaction: not because of the block scheduling in place. With last year’s block schedule, four out of eight classes met every other day, except for Wednesdays, when every class met. The idea of this scheduling was great in theory, yet the awkwardness of break-out rooms and endless stream of Zoom calls took away from its benefits. 

Now that LT is back in-person, block scheduling and later start times could be a beneficial change that the Board of Education should take into serious consideration.

Longer class periods, due to block scheduling, allow for more in-depth learning and expansion on the fundamentals of a course. No longer will engaging lessons or conversations be cut short by the bell. This extra time also allows students to form deeper connections and engage more. Additionally, students will have more opportunities to ask questions and receive help in class, versus taking time out of their own busy schedule to meet with a teacher. Also, homework can be completed or started during time at the end of class. Finally, longer class times can benefit students with certain learning disabilities who need extensions on projects or tests. They won’t need to take time out of their day to come in to finish tests, as that time will be built in. 

Furthermore, block scheduling and later start times have been proven to be beneficial for students’ mental health. It is well-known that most teenagers are not receiving the proper eight to 10 hours of sleep every night that is recommended by the Sleep Foundation. Later arrival times enable students to get that extra hour or so of sleep, which not only benefits their physical and mental health, but also their performance in school. With the pressure of college applications, jobs, and at-home responsibilities, school should feel like a safe and calm space for learning, not another stressor. With the implementation of these scheduling changes, LT can build a healthier and more nurturing environment for their students.

Some people have voiced concerns that students will have trouble focusing in class periods that could last up to 90 minutes. While this is a valid point, students have trouble focusing in class regardless of the length, even in traditional class periods. What’s great about block scheduling is that it builds in extra time for the class to take breaks and regroup, making students feel less overwhelmed. Thus, class periods would not be 90 minutes of continuous learning. With more time to expand on subjects, students would likely be pushed to engage more than they would in a traditional class period.

In conclusion, LT should implement a block schedule next school year to improve the quality of education and benefit students’ mental health. 

Staff Vote: 18-6