Opinion by Carina Leaman
It’s a student’s worst nightmare: on your rush out of the door, you grabbed all of your A day binders.
And it’s a B day.
School schedules are vastly different throughout the state. Each is designed to help students focus, learn, and grow, and each claims to be the best option. Dutch Fork is ranked second in the state–but does that mean we have the best bell schedule?
The A/B schedule used in District 5 was born at Dutch Fork when it was founded in 1992. Suddenly, instead of 7 different 50 minute long blocks every day, there were only 4, 90 minute classes every day. It’s success spread through the district, from Dutch Fork Middle to Irmo High, and now all secondary level schools are run this way.
It’s the same thing, day in and day out. Hour and a half long classes drag on and on while you wish high school was set up like anything but this.
And not to far away, one high school is.
River Bluff High School in Lexington District 1 has a “flex mod” schedule for classes. Courses have set days of the week, not blocks, and they can be anywhere from 30 minutes to 90 minutes.
Students’ schedules look like brightly colored, incredibly confusing quilts.
Instead of an entire block of school work every day, students get schedules with time in between for studying, or homework. Lunch varies with where their classes fall. And instead of having a 5B class, students have a class on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays every week in more lecture style classes.
This schedule makes much more sense for students’ needs: more time for difficult classes, less time wasted in simpler electives, and free periods to catch up on school work during school hours.
So why is District 5 still locked into the A-day B-day schedule? Keeping track of what day it is can cause students to be horribly unprepared if they grab the wrong binder, or leave the homework due today sitting on their kitchen table at home.
Dutch Fork Middle School has taken notice, and now runs on a schedule of 8, 45 minute long blocks every day. No more missing binders or left assignments–simply haul everything you have to school every day of the week!
It makes more sense to run on a schedule that repeats every week instead of every day. And with the college-like timing, students will be more prepared when they graduate high school. After all, don’t teachers say that preparing us for the real world is what high school is all about?
Students do lose some one-on-one teaching time that may be available with the smaller class size. Lecture halls might not be the way everyone learns.
But if a student is struggling, they simply have to schedule extra help with the teacher during the time allotted them during the school day. No more staying after school until five o’clock, or needing help from a teacher that is notorious for leaving early; help can come during the day.
It would take some transitional stages and a lot of adjustment from students and staff, but Dutch Fork’s rigorous curriculum would benefit greatly from a flex mod schedule.