New Schedule: Blocking Worries

Six girls in the front, left to right: Andra Hansen '19, Bre Brown '20, Ryan Macniven '20, Mackenzie Cormack '19, Mackenzie Newhams '19, Elise Raimon '19

Six girls in the front, left to right: Andra Hansen '19, Bre Brown '20, Ryan Macniven '20, Mackenzie Cormack '19, Mackenzie Newhams '19, Elise Raimon '19

Lilli Carlton, Staff Writer

With the first two weeks of school out of the way, you are reminiscing about the free days of summer where you spent time at the beach, went out with friends, or watched Netflix—instead of spending six hours in school.

How nice would it be to lounge in the sun instead of being cooped up in a classroom with bountiful amounts of homework being assigned? You feel sorry for yourself, but then you remember that your next class is a free period, where you can get some of your work done. After your free period you have lunch, where you can eat and talk freely with your friends. After lunch, you only have two classes left and then you are done with school—two more classes and you are done sitting and daydreaming about summer. Though you aren’t at the beach, you only had four classes today… School is going by like a sea breeze.

Last school year, students were told that this school year there was going to be a major change: a new schedule. This new schedule, a block schedule, is a four day rotation made of four classes each day, and a break time in between each class.

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The biggest change of the schedule switch is longer classes. Faculty have shown beliefs that that longer periods are better for the school; teachers are able to cover more material per class and can get more in-depth with their teaching.

“I like it in designing lessons because we can cover more varieties of topics in more classes time; I also think that benefits the students. For instance, in AP Lang, they had a reading due; we discussed the reading, had a multiple choice quiz, and were able to do more in class,” says Mrs. Betz.

“The longer period works nice for art, music, and drama—it’s good for enrichment,” says Photography and Ceramics teacher, Mr. Wozniak. “Also, the reality is that colleges have three hour long classes and only meet two to three times per week; so it’s a lot like it is here. I haven’t really thought about any negatives.”

Not only do the arts and the teachers benefit from the schedule, but the schedule is supposed to benefit the students long-term.

“Every piece of teenage brain research shows same-length classes, at least 75 minutes, are better,” says Upper School Division Head, Mr. Seldis, who was a key factor in the schedule change. Mr. Seldis also explained that last year, “there were times when students were expected to learn without breaks.”

The humanities seem to be the most excited about the schedule; other classes, such as math and science, are not as passionate quite yet.

“I am liking it,” says Upper School math teacher Mrs. Stone. “It’s a much slower place to get things accomplished during class. But I worry because we don’t have math everyday and that can affect students’ learning.”

“I am excited about trying out this new creative forward-thinking paradigm and hope it is everything that it is supposed to be,” says Upper School science teacher, Mr. Newhams.

 

Along with longer classes and less classes per day, ODA’s block schedule allows a break in between each class everyday: Community Time, lunch, and Community Work Period. However, could the breaks be more trouble than they’re worth?

 

“The breaks in between every class are nice,” says freshman Bre Brown. I am confused by the breaks, though; the community time and community period I get confused by. I’m not really sure what they’re for. Clubs starting will be nice, though, so maybe that will help the confusion.”

To clarify, here’s a breakdown of the breaks schedule.

 

  • Monday

(Morning) Community Time: Assembly

(Afternoon) Community Work Period

  • Tuesday

 

(Morning) Community Time: Clubs

(Afternoon) Community Work Period

  • Wednesday:

(Morning) Community Time: Ovation

(Afternoon) Community Work Period

 

  • Thursday:

(Morning) Community Time: Clubs

(Afternoon) Community Work Period

  • Friday:

(Morning) Community Time: Advisory

(Afternoon) Community Work Period

Some students have also voiced opinions that they do not like the schedule because one day a student may have four easy classes, made of electives and free periods, and the other day the student is bombarded with the homework and school work of four core classes. Other students, however, like having the easy-day, hard-day rotation; it gives them the opportunity to be diligent in getting work done.

“With the new schedule, if you have lots of homework, you do have more time to do it,” says freshman Ava Small.

“In many ways, the hard days and good days are just prep. for college,” says Mr. Seldis. “It’s mainly just luck about which blocks you get, especially for the underclassmen. For the upperclassmen, again, it’s really good prep. for college— they’re going to have days that do no stand in uniform—unstructured and structured. The ‘tough-day, easy-day’ is mainly for the whole college prep. experience.”

Whether you are a passionate supporter or opponent of ODA’s new block schedule, it is important to adjust—the change is here.