After all the changes that SHS students have had to face this school year, the change to the block schedule has appeared to be the most impactful to students and staff. Before Covid-19 impacted everyone in the world, the SHS class schedule looked far different from what it looks like now.
“The prior schedule was seven class periods every day and Advisory only once a week. A student would have those same seven classes for a semester, and students would get a half of credit for each of those classes after the semester ended. So each class was about fiftyish minutes long,” principal Sarah Dorn said.
The new schedule is a block schedule that consists of having six classes instead of the original seven. Having six classes allows for students to split their classes in half and separate them throughout the days of the week. A days are Mondays and Thursdays while B days are Tuesdays and Fridays. On Wednesdays students have all six classes with no Advisory. This year, most students are also required to have an online class on Edgenuity. With the new schedule students now have Advisory four times a week instead of one.
“This change was a big decision to make, because we really felt like especially coming out of the pandemic, students needed to be able to connect with all their teachers and by meeting with students four times a week, it allows teachers to have that constant check in with their students. Whether that is regarding grades, social, emotional and or physical status, it allows for us to find out what kind of support they need and how to provide it,” Dorn said.
Covid-19 was a big wake up call for the school and district administration to make a change for the better of students and their learning.
“We want to meet the needs of our students. We changed our schedule during the pandemic when we went to comprehensive distance learning. What we noticed was that students were really tired after seven different classes a day, by the end of the day, they were exhausted. They also weren’t able to get into as deep of learning in those smaller class times. So having three longer classes a day allows students to learn on a deeper level,” Dorn said.
This big of a change had to be discussed and revised by various different people before it was put into action this school year. The change also required a lot of time and planning to finalize the adequate change for students.
“All of the SHS administration and staff, district board, Parental Advisory Committee, parents and students were involved in making this change happen. We put out several schedule examples and options out to staff and shared it with our district’s Parental Advisory Committee to hear their feedback, as well as getting feedback from our students and parents,” Dorn said.
The block schedule allows teachers to have more class time to teach and support their students. However, the initial change has seemed to be the most difficult for staff to adjust to.
“Change is hard for everybody. So that was an adjustment. I like the hour and a half classes but I miss seeing everybody everyday. It’s tough because last year, we had 90 minute class periods and we got to see you everyday. This year, it’s a little bit different with the block schedule and we haven’t been in the classroom for long, it’s tough trying to adjust to it all, but so far, so good,” math teacher Kayla Grahn said.
Teachers and staff seem to like the new change because it allows them to have more time teaching and working with their students.
“I love the new schedule, I think all the CTE classes love it too. It gives us the time we always needed to complete the work we need do. I’ve waited years for this change to happen and it’s finally here, I couldn’t be more excited and my students in my classes seem to love the extra time to work,” manufacturing teacher Paul Panula said.
As for students, the change has drastically impacted their high school experience. A majority of students have never had a block schedule in their educational life span. Adjusting to it aside from all the various changes has appeared to be quite challenging for some and for others the change has not affected them as greatly.
“Personally, I like the block schedule. I think that it’s more beneficial for teachers and students. Although I did like being able to see more people because I was in more classes a day when we did have seven. But now on Wednesdays, the classes go by way too fast that it’s crazy to think we ever did that. So I think the hour and a half is a lot more beneficial to all,” senior Ashley Allinger said.
Students seem to have mixed opinions as to whether or not they like the new change. While some students like it others are not fans of more change being added to an already stressful year.
“I like the prior seven class schedule. I think that with the seven class schedule, we got more done because we had less time. I believe that when I was in class, I was able to focus more because now I feel like an hour and a half is too long to sit in class and I can’t focus for that long on one subject,” junior Delaney Liebelt.
An informal poll was conducted, asking the SHS student body whether they liked the new block schedule. A majority of students, 52%, voted yes, they did like the change while 48% voted no, they do not like the changes.
“Just having kids back here this year is the best thing ever. Going out in the hallways and seeing classrooms full of students again after everything this past year is a good feeling. What I’ve seen more than anything else is that students now realize they want to be here and I love it,” Dorn said.