Why more high schools should have a block schedule

This post is part of a collaboration with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

When I started teaching in 1995 at an alternative high school in Chicago (a school that gave dropouts a second chance at a diploma), we were on a block schedule. I saw students every other day for about 90 minutes a class. I hated it.

As a new teacher then, I found it difficult to plan to engage students that long. And this is the era when we still had VCRs—I was still buying music on cassettes—so showing a video clip to add some variety or depth was complicated. I had to go to Blockbuster and pray they had the movie I needed.

Back then, with an emerging World Wide Web, without YouTube, without TED Talks, teaching high-school students for 90 minutes every other day was hard. Add to all of this the fact that our students missed school A LOT—like 1-3 days a week—and a block schedule made teaching nearly impossible.

But a couple of years ago, I became a loud voice in favor of a block schedule. After a union-member vote where 52% of our staff voted in favor of a block schedule, my high school on Chicago’s Southwest side changed from eight 50-minute periods every day (I taught five of those periods every day) to a schedule where we only have 4 periods every day.

Each period is now 90 minutes. I love it, and students like it too.

According to the National Education Association, these are some benefits of block schedule:

  • Students have more time for reflection and less information to process over the course of a school day.
  • Research found students retain information longer.
  • Teachers see fewer students during the day, giving them more time for individualized instruction.

To read more about why block schedules are better, click here for the NBPTS blog.

You can "Like" The White Rhino Blog's Facebook page.

Follow me @whiterhinoray.

To subscribe to the White Rhino Blog, scroll down on your phone or go to the right side of this page on your computer.  

You get one email when I post.  This subscription is spam free and you can opt out any time.

Filed under: Uncategorized

CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIDEO

Leave a comment