BERKELEY – Board of Education members are hoping the implementation of block scheduling at Central Regional Middle and High School this September will mean less hectic school days for students and staff alike.
The goal of block scheduling is not only to make learning more enjoyable, but increase a student’s desire to succeed, said Susan Cowdrick, Island Heights representative for the Central Regional Board of Education.
Both schools will adopt an A/B, or four-by-four, schedule for the 2019-20 school year, she explained. On each “A” day, students will attend the same four classes. On “B” days, students will go to four different classes. So, for example, every “A” day, a student might go to their history, science, art, and English language arts class. On every “B” day, that student would then have their math, music, foreign language, and gym class.
Students will alternate between their “A” and “B” classes daily. If they have their “A” classes on a Monday, they would go to their “B” classes that Tuesday. This way, if there are three “A” days one week, there will be three “B” days the next. At the end of the semester, it is then up to the Board to assess how snow days and holidays have affected the schedule. Regardless of the A/B schedule, students do need a certain amount of hours to get credit for a class.
While the Berkeley Township Elementary School students have not converted to block scheduling, Cowdrick agreed that having the middle school on an A/B schedule this year will benefit elementary schoolers transitioning to Central.
“It’s good they’re coming into the middle school with it… it’s an adjustment,” Cowdrick said.
While the middle school integrated blocked ELA and math periods last year, block scheduling at the high school will be an entirely new addition. Both schools will now have every period blocked, she said.
The Board is also hoping the double periods will allow for more flexibility in the classroom. Students will ideally have time for group work and reinforcement in addition to lectures in every class. The idea is to have more time each class for a variety of activities. This new approach to classroom learning may also lead to noticeable increases in standardized test scores.
“[Kids] learn from each other,” Cowdrick said regarding the benefits of longer periods. “Classrooms have to have movement.”
Both the middle and high school will have flags and posters hanging in the halls to indicate an “A” versus a “B” day so that students don’t get confused. The school colors will likely be used to differentiate the days. Maroon flags will coordinate with one of the days, and gold ones will coordinate with the other.
For parents to get more information on block scheduling, Superintendent Dr. Triantafillos Parlapanides has been holding informational meetings at the high school. The next, and last, session will be in the Presentation Room of Central Regional High School on August 21 at 7 p.m.