• November 22, 2019
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Leesville Road High School operates on a block schedule: four eighty-five minute classes each semester, for a total of eight classes per year. However, it was not always this way. In the past, students took the same classes throughout the whole year.

History of the Schedule

From the school’s opening in 1993 until 2004, Leesville operated on a schedule similar to what middle schools use now: Students took six classes all year, and periods were only 55 minutes.

Schools could have two fewer classes because the graduation requirements were different. Instead of the current requirement of 26 credits, students only needed 20 to receive a diploma. When Richard Murphy, the school’s first principal, left in 2004, new leadership and new schedules came to Leesville.

Effect On Student Life

Most students at Leesville feel indifferent towards the block schedule, as it is the only high school schedule they ever knew. Other students have a positive view of it, while few have a negative view.

“I like the block schedule because we only focus on four classes at a time,” said Shelby Lattimore, senior. “I think it’s a good balance; the counselors do a good job of giving you hard classes first semester, and second semester, you don’t usually have all hard classes at one time.”

It is easier to concentrate on only two core subjects at a time, which a student is likely to have with the block schedule. On the other hand, schedules are luck-of-the-draw to an extent. Upperclassmen have seniority in schedules, so for underclassmen, some get lucky with their schedules.

“[The block schedule] is alright. I can chill because I have fewer classes,” claimed Tyson Holder, senior, “I’ve gotten used to it over the years, but I don’t like that you can forget things because you go like eight months without a class.”

We Aren’t the Only Ones

Most Wake County High Schools have the block schedule, although variations of it. Broughton uses a block schedule with four classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and a different four on Tuesday and Thursday, commonly known as AB scheduling.

“[Broughton’s schedule] is pretty good because you have the extra day for homework,” explained Jake Pulley, Broughton sophomore, who claims he would not like the Leesville schedule.

For students on AB scheduling, classes are as long as they are at Leesville. However, the daily switch means that students have the same classes all year. They also have two nights to complete homework instead of the typical one night to finish homework, (although, by waiting the extra day, they would technically be behind). A confusing aspect may be if a student forgot which week it is—ABABA or BABAB.

Broughton Typical ABABA Week

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
7:25-9.00
1st A
5th B
1st A
5th B
1st A
9:05-10:30
2nd A
6th B
2nd A
6th B
2nd A
10:35-12:05
(10:30-11:05 1st Lunch)
3rd A (or lunch)
7th B (or lunch)
3rd A (or lunch)
7th B (or lunch)
3rd A (or lunch)
11:10-12:40
(12:05-12:40 2nd Lunch)
3rd A (or lunch
7th B (or lunch)
3rd A (or lunch)
7th B (or lunch)
3rd A (or lunch)
12:45-2:18
4th A
8th B
4th A
8th B
4th A

Leesville Road Typical Schedule

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
7:25-8:50
1st
1st
1st
1st
1st
8:56-10:23
2nd
2nd
2nd
2nd
2nd
10:29-11:54
3rd
3rd
3rd
3rd
3rd
11:54-12:47
SMART Lunch
SMART Lunch
SMART Lunch
SMART Lunch
SMART Lunch
12:48-2:18
4th
4th
4th
4th
4th

Enloe, on the other hand, has seven classes per day, all year. This results in shorter classes which may be more enjoyable and less monotonous for the student, according to a few Enloe sophomores. Students are also more likely to retain information from year to year because they have each of their classes daily. However, there are fewer total credits available at Enloe. They have the opportunity to take 28 classes, while a Leesville student is able to obtain 32 credits.

Benefits of the Block Schedule

Some administrators are in favor of the block schedule because it gives students an opportunity to enroll in more classes. A student could fail math in the fall, and retake it in the spring. At a school like Enloe, that student would take a full year to take that class,subsequently fail, and they wouldn’t be able to retake the class until the following year, putting them behind. Essentially, you can take more classes with the block schedule. This includes more electives, which satisfies students.

Downsides of the Block Schedule

One negative result of the block schedule is the potential to not retain information. A student is likely to have math during fall semester and not pick up a calculator again until the following fall. In those eight months without the subject, students may have forgotten key concepts. Math is a subject that builds on concepts from year to year, making this a clear disadvantage to the student. These concepts from the prior year would have to be retaught. This would be less likely to happen if the student attended the same classes throughout the year.

Classes also move faster through the curriculum than they otherwise would. Multiple concepts can be taught in a week, and in some classes, it feels like there is a quiz every other day.

Teachers Don’t Mind

“I like [the block schedule] fine, didn’t think I would, but I do,” said Tonya Eastman, a history teacher who has been at Leesville since before the block schedule. “I think for students it is better because you get to take more classes,” she continued, “but the real big negative [for us teachers] is not getting to know your students well.”

She expanded that it is nice to have to grade fewer papers at a time, but that by only teaching students for a semester, she doesn’t feel like she gets to really know students.

“Teachers were concerned about switching to block — how, what am I gonna do with my time,” Eastman explained, “but I think block has been nice and every once-and-awhile we will get into this philosophical discussion of ‘do you want to switch back?’ and people are kind of like ‘no, I don’t think I want to switch back.’”

Conclusion

Whatever your view of the block schedule is, it is possible to graduate with more credits. Also, chances are, if you are at any public school in Wake County, you have some form of the block schedule. More than likely, students have adjusted or will adjust and many like the block schedule now that they have become accustomed to it. If one is worried about forgetting information from the prior year, it would be wise to review that information so that they won’t be at a disadvantage in future classes. Most students probably haven’t taken a deep look into the schedule, so now, they are informed.

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