Teachers weigh pros and cons of block schedule

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Sophie Penn

History teacher Gregory Schoenstein falls back into the pattern of 50-minute class periods after a week of block schedule.

Sophie Penn, ScotCenter Editor-in-Chief

Rumors have been flying around campus as to whether or not the block schedule used for Smarter Balanced testing will be implemented permanently next year.

Although many students have strong feelings about the schedule, teachers are arguably more opinionated about this possible change in how curriculum would be distributed. There is a clear division within Carlmont staff over the ongoing discussion of changing to a block schedule.

“You have to effectively use the block schedule if you’re going to have it. You have to break things up,” said history teacher Jarrod Harrison.

According to Harrison, the staff has met previously to discuss the pros and cons of a block schedule within their departments. Each department’s debate resulted in a different consensus.

Math teacher Marianne Grandon said that the math department was against a block schedule, saying it would be harder to teach material without seeing students for the full 50 minutes every day. However, the science department was allegedly in favor of 90-minute periods. Having longer class periods would allow science classes to have more labs, and be less rushed to finish them.

Harrison and English teacher Kristen Fewins both stated that they did not have major issues with either schedule. Teachers such as Grandon were strongly against block schedule, pushing to keep it as is.

“It would not be beneficial to students. They would have double homework assignments, and there would be less time to teach,” said Grandon, referring strictly to math classes.

The block schedule would force teachers to alter their lesson plans, making fewer lessons that would take up more time to teach. Students would also likely get the chance to begin their homework in class because of the extended amount of time.

Fewins considered time in class to do homework a benefit of the block periods: “Kids can start doing homework in class, and I can help after if they need it.”

The fact that most other schools apply a block schedule of some variation does put pressure on Carlmont to consider change. It is possible that the block schedule will be tested out again in the future. However, the conflicting opinions of both students and teachers make it unclear what the future may hold for this issue.

The change to a permanent block schedule is still a possibility, but until further notice Carlmont’s schedule will remain the same.