Block schedule has its benefits

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Block schedule has its benefits

Mrs. Judy Uriarte, French teacher, helps Maddie Petrush, junior, with an assignment. Uriarte is an avid supporter of block scheduling.

Mrs. Judy Uriarte, French teacher, helps Maddie Petrush, junior, with an assignment. Uriarte is an avid supporter of block scheduling.

Mrs. Judy Uriarte, French teacher, helps Maddie Petrush, junior, with an assignment. Uriarte is an avid supporter of block scheduling.

Mrs. Judy Uriarte, French teacher, helps Maddie Petrush, junior, with an assignment. Uriarte is an avid supporter of block scheduling.

Christian Berger, Staff Writer

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Considering Monte Vista’s high rankings in areas such as safety, academics, and athletics, we should definitely offer more flexible scheduling options for students.

This can be done by giving students the option of a blocked schedule—in other words, having pairs of classes every other day for longer periods instead of every day for shorter periods.

As a new student this year, I have experienced two completely different scheduling systems. Here at Monte Vista, a student’s typical day is quite easy to remember: attending every class, at the same time of the day, during every day of the year.

The school I came from allowed students to have much more variety in their schedule. During my freshman year, I took a hybrid schedule with four blocked classes and three standard. I would have two pairs of classes every other day, both for extended periods of time, and the remaining three daily. It’s complicated, but it works.

The key here was that I had the option to tailor my schedule to how I wanted it right down to the class. I didn’t have to take 100% blocked or 100% standard. This is exactly what Monte Vista should do: allow students to find a happy medium. It’s a foolproof system that breaks the monotony of the school day and, based on my own personal experience, makes the day go by much quicker.

In general, I found that I got much more out of my blocked classes. The teacher had enough time to go more in depth and keep us engaged in the material for one continuous period, rather than having to cut the lecture in half and repeat the process the next day.

A few years ago, Monte Vista teachers turned down a proposal to switch to block scheduling completely. Cal High had already adopted the system at the time.

Among the supporters was MV French teacher Mrs. Judy Uriarte. She taught blocked classes at her former high school in San Diego and was extremely fond of the system.

Mrs. Judy Uriarte, French teacher, helps Maddie Petrush, junior, with an assignment. Uriarte is an avid supporter of block scheduling.

Mrs. Judy Uriarte, French teacher, helps Maddie Petrush, junior, with an assignment. Uriarte is an avid supporter of block scheduling.

“I wish we had a total block system here at Monte Vista. I’ve worked on two committees so far during my tenure here trying to affect change; it has not worked even though I’m a major proponent of it.”

On the other side of the debate is math teacher Mr. Anthony Peña. He feels that for certain subjects such as math where lessons are fit for one period, a blocked schedule simply does not work.

“If [the student is] gone on the day they have math, they’re toast for two lessons. Whereas before, they would just miss some small chunk and it’s a more manageable task. For me, I just don’t like it.”

Towards the end of the year when the juniors have standardized testing, the school will be on a modified schedule that follows a blocked pattern. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

    At the end of the day, it all comes down to the student’s choice. If they want to stick with having every class every day, they still can. But because the different learning styles around Monte Vista are almost as diverse as the students themselves, block scheduling is a viable option that we should seriously consider.

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