The block schedule: How it’s affecting students and teachers 

by Erin M. Moore

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In December of 2021, the Saint Paul Board of Education decided to make the change from Highland’s typical seven-period bell schedule to a four-period block schedule, alternating classes every other day. 

This new schedule provides more elective opportunities, less time spent transitioning between classes, more focused class time, and more time focused on a singular subject.

However, this new schedule decreases break time, classes are no longer daily, and you have to spend more time in classes where you have nothing to do or don’t enjoy. This has been an exponential change for all involved, though staff will be impacted most of all. 

Teachers have had to completely rearrange their typical plans and scheduling for assignments, lessons, and summatives due to this new version of scheduling. “Planning for block scheduling was one of the things that kept me awake at night this summer,” Mr. Martin commented to his class of Algebra 2 students on the schedule for math assignments this school year. 

I’ve had the privilege of talking to many students, all with varying opinions on the change. For example, while Jo Knorr, a freshman, finds the longer class times makes it harder to focus on the topic being discussed, Ash and another student, wishing to remain anonymous, found the longer periods made it easier for them to focus. 

“So I’ve had time to adjust to the block schedule as my previous school also used it, but before that, I had a schedule consisting of seven classes per day. That schedule felt so much better because classes were shorter, everything felt more fun, and it felt like things were completed more quickly. Now, our lunch is shorter and there’s no free time. It feels like way too much,” said Ava Bird, another freshman that recently moved into the area. 

Overall, opinions are mixed on the topic, though from those I’ve talked to on the topic an overwhelming majority is against the change. It’s only been a week of this new schedule so far though, so opinions may change, and both pros and cons will become more apparent. It is likely that by the end of the year, the school will have managed to adjust to this change and will be more comfortable with the 8/2 schedule. Hopefully, by then, it will be easier for students and teachers alike. 

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