Schreiber’s block schedule has led to preparedness among students

Leah Doubert, Opinions Editor

One of the more unique aspects of a Schreiber education is the school’s reliance on a block schedule.  As opposed to following the more common traditional schedule that nearby schools like Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School follow, Schreiber’s system is a set six-day cycle. With this kind of schedule in place, classes at Schreiber typically meet either once, twice, four times, or all six times in a single rotation, depending on state requirements and the nature of the course. 

Though to students moving up from the middle school and those from other districts, Schreiber’s six-day cycle may sound overly complex or unnecessary, it actually permits students to take more classes and creates more opportunities for students and teachers alike to have free periods throughout the week.  Moreover, the block schedule also creates hour-long periods, which allow for more material to be covered in class.  

The block schedule also allows students to take more classes than they would be able to with a traditional schedule.  With a traditional schedule, students usually have nine periods with the same classes every day.  This prevents students from taking more classes as those nine periods typically include a lunch period and a physical education class.  However, with the block schedule, students can take up to eight classes while still having lunch and physical education. 

“Having a block schedule would give me an opportunity to be able to have a schedule filled with an abundance of classes, but not all crammed into one day,” said junior Dalia Lieberman at Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School.  

As previously mentioned, another benefit to the block schedule is the longer class periods it creates.  Rather than having classes meet every day for a shorter period of time, classes meet less frequently and are one hour each.  One of the most significant advantages to this is that it allows for teachers to cover a greater amount of material during class time.

Additionally, for science classes specifically, the one-hour period also gives students more time to finish an entire lab, or at least a few sections of a lab, in a single period. Furthermore, the longer class time also permits teachers to plan for more interactive lessons, including lengthened in-class presentations and more thoroughly developed projects.

“Because we have one-hour periods, my teachers are able to have fun lessons where the class gets to participate more than we would if there were only 40 minute periods like in middle school,” said junior Julia Semilof.

Additionally, the block schedule gives students more freedom when it comes to budgeting their time.  Given the fact that the majority of classes do not meet every day in the cycle, students often have several days to complete their homework for each class.  This helps students learn to manage their time better based on what else they have going on. 

“Having different classes every day helps me because it lets me choose when I study for which classes,” said freshman Alexandra Grundfast.  “I can spread out my homework so I don’t have to do everything in one night.”

The block schedule also allows students to have free periods whenever they do not have a scheduled class. If a more traditional schedule was to be implemented, students would miss out on this opportunity to use their time in school more freely.  Schreiber students benefit greatly from having these off periods, as many of them choose to catch up on work in the library or the computer labs. Thus, getting rid of the block schedule would clearly harm students since they would have less time to complete the work they are assigned during the school day, which would be detrimental especially if they have many after-school commitments and off periods are the best times for them to get work done productively.

“The best part of having a block schedule is getting to have off periods during the week,” said junior Valerie Mondschein.  “They give me the chance to catch up on work, meet with teachers for extra help, or just take some time to relax.”

In addition to providing free periods for students to spend in the library or seeking extra help, the block schedule also requires each student to have at least half an hour for lunch every day.  At many other schools in the Long Island area, students try to completely pack their schedules with classes in an effort to be more competitive for certain colleges, and therefore may give up the opportunity to eat lunch.  A schedule that permits this is not ideal by any means, though, as students must eat during school so they can stay focused in class. On top of this, lunchtime is also a perfect way to have a break in the middle of a long day.  

“Having that time to eat lunch is very important not only for nutritional purposes, but also so that students have an opportunity to relax and decompress during a challenging day,” said Assistant Principal Mr. David Miller.  

Schreiber’s block schedule is also beneficial because it better prepares students for the kind of lifestyle they will experience in college.  At most universities, students only take a few classes each semester and often have free time to study and complete their work in between them.  The vast majority of Schreiber students attend a university after graduation, and the block schedule does a great job of preparing them for what lies ahead.

“The block schedule allows students to experience a more college like atmosphere that will help prepare them for the next step in their educational career,” said Mr. Miller.   

While there are many benefits to the block schedule, it is also becoming increasingly difficult to keep this system in place.  With an incoming freshman class of around 500 students, there have been concerns about the block schedule’s ability to accommodate such a large student body, even with the addition of new lunch periods.  Although it will be more difficult to organize student schedules for classes with fewer sections, Schreiber should definitely keep its block schedule in place for the purposes of maximizing students’ productivity and health in school.  

Despite Schreiber’s growing student body becoming a challenge to the scheduling system currently in place, the block schedule is the most efficient way for students to learn and prepare for their futures.