Block Scheduling: A Blessing or a Curse?

Dhristi Raval ‘20

Recently, the idea of block scheduling has sparked a debate among Ridge students and teachers. Block scheduling is defined as a system for scheduling the typical middle or high school day by replacing a more traditional schedule of six or seven 40-50 minute daily periods with longer class periods that would meet fewer times each day and week. While many Ridge students excitedly anticipate the changes and advantages of block scheduling, others argue that a new scheduling system could potentially complicate Ridge schedules. On the night of December 24th, the Ridge High School Board will hold a meeting to discuss the pros and cons of block scheduling, and decide if this change could potentially be advantageous to the Ridge environment.

Many Ridge students support the idea of block scheduling because they believe it could potentially reduce the constant stress and workload placed upon students. Tanya Dadlani ‘21 expresses her excitement for the potential change, stating that block scheduling “is so much better because you only have to study or do homework for subjects that you have the next day.” Since students would not have every one of their classes everyday, students assert that they would not have to stress about all of their classes at once.

Moreover, many students like that block scheduling provides an opportunity for all students to have a universal lunch period. A frequent complaint of many students is that they do not receive the opportunity to spend time with their friends in school because they have no shared classes or lunch with them. However, with block scheduling, all students would have lunch at the same time, thus providing them the opportunity to spend time with their closest friends.

Additionally, some students assert that block scheduling would enable them to learn better during the day. Particularly in Honors and AP courses, teachers often have trouble getting through the curriculum due to limited time. Block scheduling would reduce the amount of passing time between classes, therefore giving teachers more time to get through annual curriculums. Since the class periods would be longer on a daily basis, students would be able to focus in on their classes and understand the material better.

On the other hand, many Ridge students also oppose the idea of block scheduling, stating that the change would cause an abundance of problems. A common objection is that sitting in one classroom for over an hour every day would simply be boring and tedious. Studies repeatedly prove that students learn best when they feel entertained and active. Austin Segal ‘20 insists that “having a class every other day would be detrimental for many Ridge students who rely on daily review of material and frequent opportunities to ask questions in order to succeed academically.” Passing time in between classes gives students a chance to recollect their thoughts and engage in healthy communication with their peers. Block scheduling would deprive students of more passing time, and the dull and unimaginative nature of sitting in one class for a great amount of time may weaken students’ learning.

Furthermore, while the idea of having a universal lunch is appealing to some, others declare that the lunch lines would be too long. Hundreds of students would be attempting to buy lunch at the same time, thus greatly slowing down the process. Standing in these lines could also take up time students could have used to study, do homework, or be more efficient during their lunch periods.

In addition, many students participate in the music program during their lunch period. If requested, counselors can schedule students’ lunch period during a band, orchestra, or chorus period, so students can increase their involvement in the music program. Block scheduling may deprive these musically-gifted students from participating in their respective programs.

In conclusion, block scheduling would result in an immensely different Ridge High School environment. While block scheduling may seem like a new and exhilarating alternative to the traditional scheduling system, it is imperative that we continue to prioritize the needs of our musically-gifted students and create an exciting and hospitable environment where students can learn. Our opinions are only as audible as we make them. We must share our ideas and concerns with the Board to influence change in our district. For better or for worse, Ridge students may soon be seeing a colossal change in their daily lives.