I am actually a student of block scheduling. My high school changed
about half-way through and I was hesitant but it actually worked out
for the better. Our school worked on the following schedule:
2 80 minute periods
1 20 minute homeroom
2 40 minute lunch/club/study hall periods
2 80 minute periods
Many students were not able to participate in extracurriculars because
they took public buses and would not be able to get home if they
didn't catch one immediately after school. With the block schedule
attendance went massively up in activites such as drama, choir, art,
language, and eco clubs because those were held in the middle of the
day. The middle of the day was sort of a free for all. If you weren't
in any clubs you attended a lunch period and then a study hall. If you
were involved in extracurriculars you could go both periods to
different activites. It also did not conflict with sports.
Because of this middle period giving all students a study hall period,
students usually took all 8 classes, were able to fufill college prep
requirements quicker and take more advanced classes or more electives.
For example a student could take 2 maths a year, some actually took 6
spanish classes. So they actually ADDED classes.
For Art, when I left they were just adding on Art V, since before we
just had the generic Art 1-4, but now they have Art 6, Sculpture 1-4,
graphic and web design, flash, and i think they are adding photography
of some kind next.
I think the only class that was hard for 80 minutes was math classes,
but I think they have adjusted to the longer periods with more unique
ways of instruction.
Another thing thrown into the mix is we also rotated classes every 2
weeks. So you have A, B, C, D. Then your schedule would be B, A, D, C.
Then C, D, A, B etc....it had to do with how students perform better
in different subjects at different times of day so it was an
experiment I guess :) I am not sure if it still works that way.