Block schedules are more beneficial to students


Photo by Liam Klein.

The return to regular in-person learning during the 2021 school year also coincided with a return of the typical 7 class school day.

By Liam Klein, Opinions Editor

Over the past two school years, WCHS has experimented with different versions of the daily school bell schedule. With varying start times, time in between classes, lunch length, class length, and classes in a day. All of this was in the hope of easing the transition from the virtual, then hybrid, and the eventual return to regular learning. However, the best of these was without a doubt the one utilized during the 2020-2021 calendar school year, with the delayed start block schedule and Wednesdays off. 

The first key reason why this block schedule is the best is due to the later start time. A 9:00 a.m. first bell gives students more time to sleep; because a proper night’s sleep is imperative to one’s growth and development, this is not a change that should be taken lightly. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children and adolescents who do not get enough sleep have a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, injuries, poor mental health, and problems with attention and behavior. When it was implemented, this delayed start time helped improve students’ sleep and was a notable boost to students’ mental health and morale. 

Another advantage is the class length. The typical 45-minute classes were extended to be an hour long. These extended classes allow for more time for instruction, allowing teachers to get through more thorough lessons. This meant that more material could be taught, leaving less content that students had to learn for themselves outside of class. Furthermore, with teachers being able to cover more, an opportunity emerges for more personalized learning. According to the Rand Corporation, a not-for-profit “personalized learning (PL) can improve achievement for students, regardless of their starting level of achievement.”  Increased personalized learning would help teachers facilitate more growth for students, and make learning more enjoyable for the students as well. 

With this increased and improved capability for teaching provided by the block schedule, this would create a learning environment that is not as dependent on homework. This would be helpful not only for students but also for teachers. For teachers, less assigned homework would mean fewer meaningless assignments to grade allowing for more time to plan lessons. 

When focusing on students, the benefits of less homework are almost limitless. Less work outside of the classroom would first and foremost decrease student stress and anxiety, thus vastly improving morale. Less homework would leave students more well-rested, improving focus during class time. It would also allow students more time to pursue the things they enjoy, such as extracurricular activities, which will create a more meaningful and enjoyable high school experience.

There is one downside to utilizing a block schedule: a loss of continuity in classes. Fewer classes a day means that classes will meet every other day. This can hurt students when considering that if they miss one class, it could be the equivalent of missing multiple lessons. With classes not meeting every day, it would be more difficult for students to get caught up afterwards as well. 

The benefits of utilizing a block schedule are undeniable. While longer classes on the surface may seem like they would bore students and slow down the pace of learning, in reality, it is quite the opposite.  A block schedule would be a positive for students and teachers alike. With this idea in mind, should more schools try a block schedule? How would you react if one was implemented at WCHS?