Friday, November 8, 2013

New schedule to increase instructional time

Molly  Price
Staff Writer

With all of the new rules and regulations that have this year—a new principal, new mobile phone rules, new headphone regulations, and new bathroom passport requirements—it may be shocking for students to hear that a scheduling change may be on the horizon. This change will be done to increase instructional time and may include something like block scheduling.
 The scheduling committee, made up of Mr. Malone, Ms. Reeder, Ms. Anderson, Mr. Rutledge, Ms. Ryan, Mr. Bachart, Ms. Gomez and Mr. Gaffney, has been exploring the subject of adding more instructional time to the school. The transition to a new schedule is not definite, but is a possibility.
 “The benefits of a new schedule are longer periods of instructional time which would increase the contact time between teacher and student at longer blocks, less traveling throughout the day, and more efficient use of time,” said Principal Mr. Malone, chairman of the scheduling committee.
 The student body has mixed feelings about the idea of changing the schedule and extending the amount of time you spend within a math or social studies class to be 90 minutes rather than our current 41 minutes.
 Bella Dougherty (2015) says: “I like the idea of block scheduling because it would mean having less homework per night.”
 If NH-S went to a block schedule it would more than double the time we as students spend in a classroom. This could undoubtedly decrease our amount of homework having more time in class to complete assignments and allow students to better comprehend material with teachers having more time to explain different concepts. Some students may find it difficult to concentrate after sitting for an hour during a lecture and zone off or become bored of the class.
 There are a few different types of block scheduling models that could be considered. The different types would have classes change at different times, like every semester, every marking period or even every other day. Either way, it would reduce all homework by half each night because we would only have 4 class periods a day.
  Whatever decision is made by the scheduling committee--change to block or stick with the current schedule--the guiding directive is to benefit the students and their academic careers.


  1. First, I believe that students should be represented on the scheduling committee to get their input. Don't you agree? Remember the old Bibilcal expression, "Out of the Mouths of Babes." Second, students should be surveyed as to how they feel about block scheduling. We can have a list of all the subjects in a vertical column followed by the numbers 1-5 with 1 being very unfavorable to having the subject in block time and 5 being highly favorable in block time. Also have a category for "unsure". In this way, the administration gets a more realistic picture of what they are dealing with. We must also get feedback by way of a survey of the teacher union leadership of how the individual teachers feel.
    After all, since one size does not fit all. There will be teachers and students who feel that single periods are all they can handle. It would be better for them than the alternative which is 45 minutes of attention followed by another 45 minutes of cruise control.
    On more point. If a teacher teaches one concept in the first 45 minutes and assigns the students to do five problems for homework, doesn't it stand to reason that if another concept is taught in the second part of the block that there will be an additional five questions for homework.I n other words, the total amount of homework will be the same regardless of which schedule you use.

  2. On a personal level I believe that the subject areas that lend themselves to block or double teaching periods where students don't feel that they are being rushed are science labs, industrial and wood working shops, art and yes, physical ed classes. Students, especially academically challenged students,who have a hard time grasping a new concept will have even more difficulty if they are subjected to several concepts before becoming proficient with the first one. Imagine learning a new dance. You spend 45 minutes on a step ,maybe two steps. Then the teacher wants to introduce you to a few more steps. I would rather learn the first two steps. THEN come back on another day for the next two steps

  3. I would like to know where the 90 minutes come from? If we are talking about the second and third periods which are listed on the Bell schedule from 8:49- 9:30 and then 9;30 to 10;15, which appears to be a blocked time, that is not 90 minutes, BUT 86 minutes. Likewise, if there were a double period for the first and second periods, we are also talking about 86 minutes, NOT 90 minutes.8:04-8:45 and then 8:49- 9:30. The long and the short of it is this. While you gain four minutes from the first to the second period if they are blocked, you don't gain another four minutes after the second period, because after the second period, you are traveling to another class. So all in all, you gain just four minutes. And let's not forget this: It's not the amount of time spent teaching and learning that makes a difference, BUT the quality of time that makes all the difference.