One semester in – is block a bust or a success?

Man's hand holding wooden block. Building of steps

Sergiy Tryapitsyn

Man's hand holding wooden block. Building of steps

Kevin DeSouza, Justin Dinis, Emily Dyer, and Carly Grohs

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It has been one whole semester since the school’s schedule changed, once again. While some students and faculty are adapting to the block scheduling, others are split on whether or not it is a bust or success.

Some of our senior reporters at Naugatuck High School interviewed students and staff members to ascertain their opinion on the new schedule that was implemented at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year. Of the four of us, we interviewed twenty-nine students and staff members, recording and collecting data as we questioned them.

Firstly, we asked if they liked or disliked the block schedule, and followed with asking them a pro or con based on their response.

Some students think the schedule doesn’t work well saying how the periods are too long and students can’t stay focused.

“The new schedule makes it difficult to focus, especially during classes early in the morning,” one junior said.

“I don’t like the schedule because I feel like teachers give us more work than they did last year with the other block schedule where it was just the one period that was longer. And even though we have an extra day to do the work I feel as though it’s still a lot of work because we have to do work for other classes too,” one senior said.

On the other hand, other students and faculty feel as though the change has impacted them and their classes for the better.

“In general, I really like the schedule overall. I enjoy having more of a relaxed atmosphere. I felt on a regular eight period day we were going from one class to the next too quickly. I teach five unique classes so in between that four minutes I’m transitioning from music production to guitar to jazz band, so now having fewer transitions in the day allows me and my students to be more relaxed,” Mr. Robert Hughes, Band Instructor, said.

Our group also interviewed Naugatuck High School’s new principal, Mr. John Harris.

“We didn’t believe that students could, in those short 43 minute blocks, do the kind of deep thinking and deep learning that we hope every student is going to do.”

We also asked if the schedule helped or slowed the person down, in terms of productivity.

“I think it’s helped me, as a staff member. I don’t know if it’s helping all students because every student’s learning style is different and every student is different. Not one set schedule is going to work for every student,” Mrs. Joanna Rich, the high school’s social worker, said.

Then, we asked if they want the schedule to change again or stay the same, and if they thought the schedule was a bust or success.

“I would like it to stay the same, but use flex differently. Also, I would say 50/50 based on the students I’ve asked. Some students really like it because it gives them an extra day to prepare for classes, but some students feel that that’s a bad thing because it causes them to procrastinate and wait for the last minute to do things, so I would say it’s 50/50 in terms of success or a bust in student perception. In terms of me, I think we’re leaning more towards success, but it’s going to take a couple years to figure out,” Mrs. Rich further said.

All in all, it is clear that both the student body and faculty are still divided on whether or not the new schedule is a bust or success, even after a whole school semester has passed. Both students and administration will have to wait again, and see if the schedule will stay or change like years prior.

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