Non-traditional School Days are Better — Block Schedules are Great!

Mayzee Hsu, Opinion Editor

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Anxiety, depression, and stress are all words many teenagers can unfortunately relate to. The reason for such mental disorders popping up in most teenagers nowadays? School. According to Huffington Post, an average teen’s stress level is 5.8/10 during the school year, which is more than the usual stress levels of 3.8/10. Stress decreases one’s mental and physical health, and may cause depression, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, etc. With high schoolers constantly preparing for the SATs and college, and middle schoolers working all year to be placed in advanced classes, school is one of the main causes of stress. About 50% of American schools have taken note of this, and decided to decrease stress levels by using block schedules.

Block scheduling differs from traditional scheduling, and instead of having all six subjects in one day, three or four subjects are taught in one day for longer periods. The most common block schedule is the traditional block schedule, which has students take the same four classes for the first semester, then switch to four different classes in the second semester. Another common schedule used is the A/B block schedule. A/B block schedules have an A day that has four classes, and a B day with four other classes. The schedules alternates the days in an A/B pattern, hence the name. Some schools, however, have a third, or a C day with eight shorter periods. The last block schedule is the least common 4×4 block schedule. This separates classes by quarters, which has some classes lasting for one quarter and other classes to last one semester.

“I’ve heard that block schedules have less periods, so that the students have less homework,” speculates Al Wen (7). Block schedules were made to offer more instructional time, which is supposed to help students focus and accomplish more. According to, school districts also say teachers benefit from block scheduling due to having less classes to teach (*six classes and two planning periods for whole school year), which means schools can hire less teachers. A College Board study says a 4×4 block schedule increases cross subject achievement, though it can cause worse performance in other subjects.

My take on block scheduling is that it is helpful since block schedules give less homework, which students need, and teach more on specific subjects in a day. This freedom does decrease stress levels in schools. Block scheduling may just be the way for education in the future. “It’s a great good idea; it allows kids to bond with their teachers more due to longer periods, therefore making it a better school year,” agrees Lexi Smith (7). The school districts’ attempts to lower students’ stress levels by creating block schedules have affected schools in the US greatly and districts with implemented block scheduling swear by their decision to go away from a traditional day.

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