I am an art department chairperson and I also teach 9-12 art.
The school I teach at adopted a type of block scheduling about 3 years ago (
or approximately around 3 years ago- time flies when you're having so much
fun, I guess).
The administrators in NYS seem to all be getting on a block scheduling kick
because they don't want to be left behind or not be on the " cutting edge"
regardless as to what the affect might be on students and their achievement
( "cutting edge"....big buzz word for the past several years).
We have a 5 period day or 72 minute block of time for each class. The
schedule is a 6 day cycle which begins with day 1 and ends on day 6 then, it
begins again. The classes are on an odd, even, schedule so academic classes,
which met everyday of the week in the past, now meet every other day. My odd
day classes now meet 3 days on WEEK ONE and 2 days on WEEK TWO (even are the
same but opposite whatever the week is for odd (ex.). if odd meets 3 days on
WEEK TWO then even meets only twice since there are only 5 days in a week).
On WEEK THREE we begin all over again.
I taught 6 classes on our old schedule and saw my students every day. On the
new schedule I teach 7 classes and see my students every other day.
Initially, the class numbers increased but as time has progressed , I have
noticed a decrease in my student load .
Students are now required to take more credits inorder to graduate. The
additional requirements are in math, science and English. I feel it has
created a problem for the electives such as art.
When students must take more and see the teacher less, they tend to drop the
electives which are time consuming and demanding. I have experienced this
repeatedly with my upper level students that take advanced placement level
The 72 minute blocks of time are nice but they lack the continuity the
students experienced (and seem to need ) on the old carnegie schedule (
meeting every day for shorter blocks of time). The day to day continuity in
my classes has been lost and it is obvious to me that the majority of high
school students are not organized or mature enough to cope with only being
with their teachers every other day.
We were told that the quality of work and productivity of the students would
increase on this new schedule.... I have experienced the opposite-- students
don't remember their assignments and the quality and quanity of their
completed assignments has decreased.
The English teachers are also experiencing a high failure rate and are very
frustrated. They feel that they cannot lower the standards but, if they do
not ,they could show a failure rate that is outrageous.
We have grade level meetings now in the high school and it seems that
everyone is experiencing high academic failure at all subject levels. I
think some teachers feel that it is because of the low socio-economic
clientele that we deal with in the area, but I wonder if it is not more the
fault of the type of scheduling and the maturity level of the high school
students ... the majority is just to young to be organized enough to do more
on their own.
The block scheduling we have puts more responsibility on the student for
learning than on the teacher for teaching. Of course, those teachers that
prefer to treat high school students like college students don't agree
because they enjoy not having that traditional responsibility on their
I would appreciate any and all information on these block
schedules,especially how it is affecting the real issue here--quality
education for all students (retention and performance ).