by Matt Meusel
Are you bored? I’m bored.
Same nine classes every day. Same order of those nine classes every day. Let’s just throw an idea out there: block scheduling.
You may or may not have ever heard of this term, but WHS could use a fresh look to its scheduling. Especially in a school system that likes to stay traditional in most areas and can be resistant to change, this could be a worthwhile improvement.
When it comes to trying to change from a traditional nine-period day to a block schedule, it’s all about the logistics of a massive overhaul like this. And it’s also important to consider if too many changes will decrease the value of education in the classroom.
On the simplest level, a block schedule at WHS may look something like the PARCC schedule that has been used for the past couple of years. There would be two or three classes in the morning, a common lunch, and two or three classes in the afternoon.
Class periods would be longer, which would mean that teachers could go into greater detail on the topics of discussion which could allow for more valuable lessons.
Students would also not have all of their classes every day. This would mean homework would decrease on a daily basis and students could put all of their efforts into each assignment.
A longer class period also allows for the implementation of more technology in the classroom, something that Westfield has been striving toward. Using technology would definitely benefit from a longer period because of the extra time that can be needed to turn on and shut down computers.
There are obviously a lot of questions that arise when thinking about the logistics of a massive change like this: Will lab periods be an issue? Can students stay engaged for multiple classes a day that could be 85 minutes long apiece? Can teachers adapt to a new style of teaching that would require their lessons to go about twice as long as they do now?
But after PARCC, there was a lot of positive feedback from both students and teachers. The first period of the day started later than it usually does and we could all use an extra 45 minutes of sleep.
There is even some optimism from Mr. Paul Pineiro, the assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and programs. “If a block schedule is done well, there’s a lot of benefits to it,” Pineiro said.
So let’s get out of this boring nine-period schedule. Cranford is going back to a block schedule next year because they see great value in it. Why can’t Westfield be next?