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Block Scheduling Articles

Remember that I have condensed these for time and space; while I did select information to include here, it is only because of those reasons. I encourage you to find these articles and pursue this information more, as I did.

These are not all of the articles that I have collected, in time, I will be adding them all.

Block Scheduling a Mixed Blessing

"Block scheduling may have contributed to...more students staying in school, but more more stduents have earned failing grades since the concept was adopted...

The 118-page report was written by Dr. Joe D. Nichols, professor of education at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.

When Elmhurst (High School) became the first school in the (Fort Wayne Community School) district to move to block scheduling in 1994, it was considered experiemental. Now, as state and district officials consider raising the number of credits neccessary to graduate, some say the block schedule is becoming a necessity. South Side (High School) is the only Fort Wayne Community School not on block scheduling. (Superintendent Dr. Thomas) Fowler-Finn fears that if the state or district increases graduation requirements, students will struggle trying to meet requirements on a traditional, non block scheduled, six-period day. "Any upward increase will make it that much more difficult for a six-period day. It's just not adequate."

Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, Sunday, November 21, 1999

Hamilton Community Schools Dumps Block

Hamilton School board members voted 3-1 to go back to a 7 period day beginning with the 1999-2000 school year. The school had block scheduling for 3 years. Low ISTEP scores, along with financial problems with the district, led to the decision. Students had attended the meeting, in support of block scheduling, but board members stated that "something had to change."

WLKI Radio, 100.3, Angola, Indiana, March 9, 1999

After a two-hour dicussion, the board of education voted 3-1 to shelve the 3-year-old block scheduling in favor or the more traditional school day (with seven periods). The board became concerned about the effectiveness of the block program after test scores declined this officials have been particularly concerned about the use of the the junior high....officials have also been concerned that teachers may not have received sufficient training to effectively use the block program....

[A new school board member] said his research of the block schedule indicated that, even in states that favored the schedule, performance declined in math, science and foreign language.

Angola, Indiana Herald-Republican, March 10, 1999

November 1999

Note: Unfortunately, it looks like Hamilton might be heading back to block scheudling for the 2000-01 school year.

Fremont faces obstacles to block

Members of the Fremont (Indiana) Community Schools board came close Monday to voting on implementing block scheduling next year at Fremont High School. But the board ran into a stumbling block....cost concerns and an ongoing rift among members of the local teachers untion scuttled a vote Monday to implement the schedule. ?We?re looking at six teachers [at a cost of] $180,000....The teachers group estimated that at least three, and perhaps more, new teachers would have to be hired to maintain the current 17 students per class ratio.

Auburn, Indiana Evening-Star, January 20, 1998

The following is an article from the Columbia City Post and Mail, January 8, 1997 edition. About ten miles from Columbia City is Churubusco, a town of about 2,000 people. From 1993-1997 the school board in Churubsco wrestled with adopting block scheduling at Churubusco High School, and it was evident from various newspaper stories and letters that it had many opinions in town. I want to thank the staff of the Churubusco News office, who allowed me to search all old newspapers regarding this information. Most all of the articles dealing with Churubusco?s decision are in record in the Churubusco News.

No block scheduling

The long anticipated decision regarding a change in class scheduling ended in a 3-2 vote against 4 by 4 block scheduling during the first regular meeting of Smith-Green Board of Trustees for the year 1997.....Due to audience size, the meeting was moved to the high school library....[the school board president] reminded those in attendance that the board holds its meetings in public, but does not hold public meetings. ?We feel it is important to have input of staff and members of the public....? He asked those present to limit comments regarding block scheduling to two minutes in length. He said the board was prepared to hear comments for an hour....After the board?s no vote, over half of the audience left the meeting.

Churubusco News, January 1997

I wish to thank Bill Fischer, editor of NEA Today for being able to post the following information. In doing so, I had to mention the magazine, which all NEA members are eligible to receive, and had to post the names and cities of the writers.

The following letters appeared in the May 1997 edition, shortly after the magazine did a story on block scheduling (which in opinion with at least one of the writers, I would say was very biased towards block scheduling). Most of the letters received about block scheduling after running this article, were mostly against block scheduling, or the article.

You neglected to mention that block scheduling reduces contact time with students. I teach five 55-minutes periods a day--for a total of 9,900 contact minutes with students each year. With either a 4 X 4 or A/B block schedule, the number of contact minutes is reduced to 8,100. That?s 30 fewer hours of instruction.

In addition, teachers under the block are responsible for six classes instead of five. In this way, block scheduling makes it very convenient to increase coverage of classes without hiring more teachers.

It?s fine to consider anecdotal evidence and personal testimony, but sometimes the numbers paint an entirely different picture.

Richard Borst, Aiken, South Carolina

Research has found that when the purpose of going to the block is to economize by downsizing the teaching staff--more common that administrators and the NEA publicly acknowledge--the system cannot be academically successful.

In many cases, the switch to block scheduling requires more staff, money, and resources. Your presentations was only highly biased but inexcusably irresponsible.

Holly Priestly, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The proponents of block scheduling say they?re able to teach students more, cover more material, and give more attention to individuals students.

This has to involved more teacher energy--not only in classroom delivery and presentation, but in advance preparation time as well.

I?d be very interested to learn how teachers can stand up to a constant schedule of high-energy output, day in and day out, year after year. Will the block lead to teacher burnout?

John Whitten, Harrington, Maine

Your articles on block scheduling (Cover Story, March) gave only the views of those most likely to benefit from it--English and science teachers and consultants. There was no mention of the harmful effects on music programs or the achievements tests done in Canada that show block scheduling can have a harmful effect on student learning.

Are we to believe there are no harmful effects of block scheduling and no disagreement on this issue within our profession? How about some balance?

Brad Jensen, Hudson, Iowa

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