By Bo Fisher
The Schedule Review Committee proposed a possible schedule change for upcoming school years that has already begun stirring a debate. Blocked classes would be reinstated at UAHS, not just for two periods a semester, but for every period.
Under the modified A/B block, the typical school day would be split into two days. Each period would be 88 minutes long, and the lunch period would be the same time for all students.
Mondays would follow a homeroom schedule with each period being shortened to 46 minutes.
Principal Kip Greenhill said he and a group of counselors formed the idea years ago from schools in Virginia and Michigan that follow an A/B block schedule. He said the schedule would provide teachers with more time to teach longer lessons and have more class discussions.
Greenhill said he believes the new schedule will allow teachers to have more hands-on learning with their students.
“Global language and science teachers were very upset when we ended blocking,” Greenhill said. “They think longer periods are a better way of teaching.”
English classes would be able to have more class discussions, Greenhill said, and science classes would be able to do a pre-lab, a lab and a reflection all in one day instead of several days.
Even though Greenhill said he does not see the schedule going into effect for another two or three years, if at all, some students and teachers have already begun pointing out the schedule’s inconveniences, such as band director Mike Manser.
“It would probably benefit some things, but maybe it is not the best for everything,” Manser said.
The marching band, which currently meets before school and during first period everyday, would effectively be missing two practices a week.
Manser said he thinks that the loss of practice time would show both in marching variety and the number of performances.
“We would have to alter expectations for performances, [and] we would have to do less shows,” Manser said.
Greenhill said he acknowledges the disadvantages for the music department, but thinks that everybody, including teachers and students, could adjust to the new schedule.
Some students are not happy with the idea of everybody having the same lunch period, including sophomore Courtney Turnball. She said it could result in crowded restaurants and longer lines.
“The lines in restaurants would be really long at lunch.”
Junior Jack Bowman said he thinks it could create problems for students who drive to and from lunch, as everybody would be leaving and coming back at the same time.
Manser said he believes the new schedule would make it difficult for students in all classes to focus and perform well, but Greenhill feels differently.
“There is no difference in the achievement level in blocked and unblocked schools,” Greenhill said.
Though some science and global language teachers think longer class discussions and more time to do labs and activities would be beneficial, the excessive length may wear students out, sophomore Corey Johns said.
Any schedule would have its advantages and disadvantages, Greenhill said, but that anybody could get used to it.
“Some students would see not having as many classes in one day as a positive,” Greenhill said.
Senior Sam Ailabouni said the schedule change could positively affect students in the long run.
“Kids will [find it difficult] to focus that long,” Ailabouni said. “It may help them for ACT and SAT tests, because it would prepare them for long tests like those.”
Greenhill said that the flex periods, which are similar to office hours, would need to be worked out, but seniors would still maintain their privileged open study halls.
According to Ailabouni, if the privileged open study halls were to stick, seniors in the following years may end up pushing for the schedule change.
“If I am a senior, I could get a study hall first, second and third periods, and I would not even have to go to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” Ailabouni said. “Or [I would have] study halls in my afternoon classes and get Wednesdays and Fridays off.”
Though some may protest this schedule change, Greenhill is confident his teachers and students will weigh out the disadvantages in the end and be able to adjust to the changes.
“All schedules have their advantages and disadvantages,” Greenhill said. “It all becomes what you can get used to.”