Block Schedule Benefits

Block Schedule Benefits

Makayla Bast, Journalist

Last year’s trying pandemic presented many new experiences students here at Mountain Ridge never thought they’d endure. With the district trying to offer safer exchanges on campus to avoid and prevent COVID exposure, a block schedule was implemented. Now in addition with the many schedules the school has, the students got to learn another one. Whether in zoom virtual learning, or in person come September 2020, Ridge had an unprecedented shift that may have promised some benefits in the midst of errant inconvenience.


The schedule change introduced the idea of a block schedule. With this, an A day consisting of periods 1,3, and 6 and B day of periods 2,4/5 (depending on lunch), and 7 were set to alternate every other day. Less classes in a day meant lengthier periods that lasted two hours. A visibly harder transition for all in the classroom. Teachers had to plan more content for a single day, with the hope students could retain it over the course of alternating days and students had to keep an attention span for a single subject double the length than ever in their academic careers. This also could unfortunately mean work would mount for the students to support learning with the awkward transitioning between zoom and in person.


Though the lengthier negatives may sit atop the minds of students just coming off a year of drawn out periods, some overlooked benefits may be even better than that of the regular schedule. Now, in the midst of Ridge returning to the regular 7 period a day way, the classes almost seem to be over before anything productive can be done. Work that could be stretched out and worked on longer has been nullified. Questions students could ask in person are now minimized to emails and connections that were built upon with more time in a single day, are reduced to a name on the attendance sheet in a classroom.


Last year, since classes alternated days, two days were essentially given to complete homework as that would be the next chance a student would see the inside of that class. This means if a student is involved in sports, extra curriculars, arts, a hobby or a job, the pressure of cramming in homework that is due at 11:59 is lifted. A burden a minority of students would miss. 


In addition to more homework time, the obvious safety risks were enforced to make students feel safer. Only having to transfer to new classes three times during the school day meant contact tracing was more efficient. COVID cases could be minimized in the classroom as less people would be exposed under this new set up. Less transition meant a better chance for the community to maintain health and in essence create a beneficial system of transfer throughout the day.


To any student this idea of less classes may be a dream come true despite the nightmare the world dreamt up in 2020. Say you have an honors biology test on Friday. You check the schedule and oops, looks like Friday is a B day and biology falls on your A. Lucky you. Or if a relentless class like any AP or Dual class allows you to only ever go every other day rather than daily, may be the peaceful break a studious student could use. This pick-me-up throughout the year, would help those working toward the harder days.


A new advantage Ridge never thought it would see with this block schedule is kids with different lunches on different days. In a normal year, once schedules are released at the beginning of August, lunch is the main let down or celebration of friend groups if your friends get the same. This predicament never presented itself in the 2020-2021 school year as some kids got to sit with different friends on any given A or B days. Alternating between 4 and 5 lunches, a new array of tables are open to much alongside your friends. This new chance to pass lunch with others that normally would miss out, took off another pressure of who to sit with during high school lunch, all thanks to the block schedule who gets credit for it. 


Despite many students being anxiously eager to escape the block schedule’s new impact on their lives, now that the 2021 school year kicks off, it’s benefits that have been left in the past are being missed. So this begs the bigger question, could Ridge or the district ever pull off this schedule stint again? Who knows! With COVID cases on the rise in August 2021, this schedule’s less contact benefits might be too good for the year to not practice. At the end of the day, this may have just been a small taste of a new style that if ever needed is proven to be workable. Whether we see it again or just group it up with the oddities of 2020, we all can say we survived a block schedule once and may even miss it just a little bit as our slice of normal solidifies…