Pro: Block Schedules

Pro%3A+Block+Schedules

Ellie Poling, Staff Writer

Miramonte should implement a modified block schedule in order to decrease student stress levels and improve the quality of education. With our current schedule, students have up to seven classes and are responsible for nightly homework long term projects and essays. A seven hour school day, often followed by several more hours of extracurricular activities and homework, leaves little time.
According to Robert L. Leahy, Ph.D. student anxiety levels are increasing. “The average high school kid today has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950s,” Leahy said.
Student stress has and always will be a major factor of the public school system. All students experience stress, whether it is social, family, or school related. Although stress and anxiety are inevitable, actions can be taken  to decrease them. By switching to a block schedule, students would be responsible for less material per night, and would be able to really focus on the fewer classes they have each day. Given longer periods, class time can be used more creativley and efficiently. Both teachers and students would be able to dive deeper into the material with extra time for discussion and do  in-class work practice and  guidance from the teacher.
“Longer class periods give me enough time to fully understand the material and ask more questions,” Bishop-O’dowd senior Olivia Ryan said. Ryan thinks that the extra class time is beneficial to her overall understanding of topics that are harder to grasp.
Another negative battle students face is the lack of confidence they feel when they are unsuccessful in learning all the provided material. Longer class periods would allow students to feel more confident in the material they learn day to day, while providing the same amount of time to conquer fewer tasks at the end of the day.
Castro Valley History teacher Jeff Goldstein believes his school’s modified block schedule is beneficial to both students and teachers.
“Many days, students think block periods fly by, because they are engaged,” Goldstein said. With more time to experiment, explain, set-up, and review class activities, students can develop a sense of fulfillment and love of  what they are learning. However, “teachers need to redesign their lessons for the benefits to be seen,” Goldstein said. Although teachers would need to rethink and expand on certain activities, the outcome of longer periods would definately increase student learning.
Castro Valley Psychology teacher Carmelina Frasca believes her students enjoy having a variety of different classes throughout the week. Frasca enjoys the freedom that a block schedule provides for her to expand her curriculum. “Thanks to block schedules, in history classes, experiments in Psych classes, and documentaries in their entirety” are more useful and applicable options, Frasca said.
By having a modified block schedule, Miramonte students would be less stressed and the Miramonte learning experience would become more well- rounded.