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The Aquilian

My issues with the block schedule


As a senior who has been on the block schedule now for almost three years, the block schedule needs to go! It is not functioning as well as it should be, and people have begun to take notice. 

“I challenge everyone to embrace our school days as 7:45-3:00 and to eliminate any excuses for not doing so,” stated Mr. Jim Kilroy, assistant headmaster for Student Life, in a recent email to students. 

Like me, he wants us to optimize and make the best use of the block schedule, which was created to serve students. In this recent email, he also advised the proper use of free periods, whether that be in service for the empty Father McKenna Center slots or properly utilizing time to do homework, meet with teachers or strengthen the community. 

Personally, I use community periods very often to make up work from being absent, to receive extra help on any difficult work or to go to club meetings. Despite this, I often do not have enough community periods to go around. After missing two days of school, I have seven periods of work to make up and only two community periods in a day. Between physics, stats and calculus, I have a significant portion of work to make up, not counting the other four classes that have classwork, homework and papers. 

Community periods could be updated to be more helpful and available by making a certain number of G-Days similar to reading day, where students go to each class for a shorter duration of time, but visit all eight classes and have the liberty to spend their time where they think it is most valuable.

After creating more reasons and opportunities for students to be more active during their free time, a rearrangement of free periods could be quite beneficial. I have second period free, which is arguably one of the worst because I do not have time to go to the Father McKenna Center, nor can I easily get off-campus lunch in the small window of time normal lunch lasts. Nor can I leave early with fourth free. I would recommend rotating free periods similar to the long periods rotating in the past. This would provide more to the majority of students an opportunity to serve, eat and enjoy their time wisely. 

Gonzaga excellently adheres to the needs of their students, but as an individual, I preferred the eight class schedule because I would be exposed to material more often. The additional community periods in G days would offer a great solution to that and the movement of free periods expands my availability to act during the day because I am not locked into the awkward 10 to 11 period of time. I can schedule more meetings, manage to make my way down into the Father McKenna Center and enjoy free time with a breadth of new people that have overlapping lunches with my newly rotated free period. 

Ideally, I would have all eight classes in a day with a G work day every two weeks for students to properly manage any work that threatens to overwhelm them or enjoy a well deserved Friday off. I could compromise with the block schedule and then two G days every three weeks. 

Gonzaga is an excellent school, and I love how well attuned the faculty is to student needs. It is truly heartwarming that the faculty care so much about their mentees in both the professional and personal sense. They are always open to input and I really hope that the system will continue to be redefined for the benefit of all. I am hopeful because change is not inherently good or bad, but under the community of Gonzaga, it will always turn out for the best. I am all for the change whether it be mine or a hybrid. Anything but online again. 

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