Problems with the Block?

A look at the Millard West schedule system


Juniors Emily Sander and Tessa Sutfin debate about tourism in Spanish.

Nate Thomas, Staff Writer

Block scheduling is a unique scheduling system adopted by Millard West to help maximize the opportunities for the students. But is it really the system for what the administration want it to be?

A block schedule consists of four terms with four individual classes, and with the length of the Millard school’s bell schedule, that allows an hour and a half per block.
With the recent vote on the Millard Public Schools budget levy, there were discussions about getting rid of block scheduling if the vote did not pass. It is proven inside of facts that it is cheaper to run an eight period system with less teachers.

These discussions must come to a screeching halt.

I understand that it is hard to sit in a classroom, listening to a teacher lecture about the Civil War or quadratics and parabolas for 90 minutes. It has come to the point that students do not have the long attention spans, shorter than a goldfish’s according to the Microsoft Corp., especially with the inventions of mobile devices including laptops. Teachers can easily spot a student browsing social media on their phones or trying to navigate through the levels of a computer game.

But when it comes down to the nitty gritty, these long classes help students more than it is thought. Take the case for junior Sean Glasshoff, who is involved with band.

“I think it gives us a lot more time to actually be productive and get more done,” Glasshoff said. “I don’t think we would be able to be prepared if we only had a 45 minutes period.”

The class time allows the group to prepare for all performances, and allows time for individual students to practice personally as well.

“Since I am involved in both Orchestra and choir, block schedules allow me to go to both places,” junior Emily Sander said. “It helps me be prepared for everything.”

This is the same for Forensics, Debate, Drama, Yearbook and Advanced Journalism students. Giving these students a full 90 minute class allocates them the time that is put into their respective areas, as they also compete on the same levels as the football or basketball team. All are NSAA sanctioned activities.

Having a block schedule gives students what they always desire, less homework. Ninety minutes is a lot of time for teachers to plan for, so they often end up using time for homework or make up work for they might have missed. Some students also have part-time jobs which require them to work after school, but giving the scholars that time at the end of class allows them to get some of their assignments started or sometimes finishing before class ends.

Many opposers to a four by four schedule state their argument with “I can take more classes in an eight period system.” Actually having the same number of terms as a block schedule, a typical period system contains a whopping zero more. Eighty credits to eighty.

Having block scheduling helps students in many ways and is an amazing trait this school has. It allows not just the sports teams to achieve greatness, but also other activities such as music, journalism, Forensics and Debate students a greater chance for success.