Block Helping Students Succeed

Lauren Burkle

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Keep Block Going by Lauren Burkle

Story By Lauren Burkle

At Mount Vernon High School, we have the privilege of following a modified block schedule. Monday thru Wednesday we have seven 52-minute class periods with a 28-minute lunch. On Thursdays and Fridays, we follow a modified block where our periods are 85 minutes long and we have an hour-long lunch. On Thursday students go to odd periods with six minutes of passing time. On Friday, students go to even periods and the eighth block for study time called MTSS.

During MTSS, students often check on their grades, make plans to improve if needed, work on homework, or get help from a teacher. Seniors have the option to leave after the sixth hour, but many choose to makeup assessments, get extra help, work on a project, or work on homework during this time.

A block schedule helps students and teachers because there is more time in an ongoing class period to get work done without being interrupted and waiting to teach the concept the next day, so much more can be learned in these longer periods. On a normal day with 52-minute periods, it seems as if  5-10 minutes are wasted each period, at the beginning of class when we are getting settled and ready for class and at the end when we start packing up and getting ready for our next class. This shortens down classes to 42-47 minutes while with block, classes can get more done with a longer period of time.

On block days we have 6 minute passing periods, which helps cut down on the time that it takes to get settled in and ready for class. As a student, knowing I have six minutes to get to my next class, I am not so rushed and do not try to pack up early.

On a normal day, most students don’t have time to use the restroom, fill up their water bottle, or go to the office within the four-minute passing period. On block days, students can take care of things they may need to do before their next class gets started.

Also, it helps to have an hour-long break halfway through the school day for lunch. At Mount Vernon, the gym is open during this break and students love to play basketball or volleyball with their friends. With this option, students are given time to get out energy, talk to friends, or get a head start on homework.

It could be said that students wouldn’t be able to focus for the whole 85 minute class period. If teachers can keep class interesting and not give notes all period, kids wouldn’t lose focus. Also, teachers have the option to give a short break about halfway through the class period for students to walk around, get a drink, or use the restroom.

Many involved students at MVHS appreciate the modified block schedule because if homework is assigned on Wednesday and they don’t have that class again until Friday, they have an extra day to complete the assignment. This means that they only have to finish homework for classes they have on Thursday, Wednesday night. For students that are involved with sports, church, or work, this is much appreciated.

Our modified block schedule also allows more time for tests that may be given, so students are not rushed and this may help them to do better on the assessment. In addition to this, if there is left over time after students have taken their test, teachers can start teaching about their next unit in the same class period.

Teachers also could use extra time they may have left to allow students to get a head start on their homework. This can be very beneficial to students, especially those that work, play sports, and have other commitments. With even a little bit less homework to do when they get home, stress can be lifted off their shoulders.  

The modified block schedule that Mount Vernon High School follows benefits both teachers and students; I, along with many others, am very grateful for this.