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The Aquilian

The Aquilian

The future of Gonzaga’s schedule

Changes weren’t just physical this year; Gonzaga students had to adapt to a new block schedule. (Photo from Gonzaga College High School Flickr)
By Jack Glavy—

As a senior at Gonzaga who transferred here in tenth grade, I’ve spent time on both Gonzaga’s traditional schedule and the new block schedule, and I think the school should remain on the latter for the future. Gonzaga is still an academically rigorous school, and the new schedule helps relieve students of some stress.

Last March, when classes became virtual over Zoom, Gonzaga temporarily switched from its traditional eight-period schedule to a four-period block schedule. Earlier that year in January, the school conducted a two-week trial of the schedule to possibly switch to it for the 2021-22 school year at the earliest. However, the block scheduled has remained throughout the 2020-21 school year due to classes remaining virtual.

With the worst of COVID-19 hopefully behind us as vaccines are being administered and infection rates are declining, Gonzaga can start to think about how the schedule might look when students hopefully return to campus full-time next school year. When Gonzaga tested the block schedule on campus before COVID-19 hit, students generally liked it, but the school wasn’t ready to fully implement it. Now that the new schedule has been active for around a year, the question about what schedule to use when normal school returns becomes a difficult one. However, the new block schedule is the better option.

Ultimately, the new schedule relieves students of stress by alternating class days, giving them two days to do homework. I did a small and very informal poll of twelve Gonzaga seniors, who have spent around a year on the new schedule and their other two and half years on the old one, and 75 percent of them preferred the new schedule.

Many students find the new schedule to be less monotonous since classes get switched up each day. They only have to focus on three or four subjects a day rather than seven. The long lunch break is also very popular among students as they get to sleep in or leave school early depending on what lunch period they have.

The eight-period day schedule definitely did have some benefits, and the block schedule has only been tried in a regular school setting for two weeks. The 2020-21 school year is the first full year it’s been used, so we’ll see if teachers are still able to cover the necessary topics with slightly less class time by May. With the old schedule, teachers had 40-minute class periods every day, but the new block schedule only gives them 70-minute periods every other day. This is five minutes less each day. Additionally, some students actually prefer attending all their classes each day so they don’t forget the material.

While there are positives and negatives of each schedule, the new block schedule is more beneficial for students’ stress levels and is the right direction for Gonzaga to go. While the administration might need to work out some of the logistics, the school should continue into the next school year, virtual or not, using the new schedule. My fellow seniors and I won’t be at Gonzaga anymore for this schedule change, but it would help all the other future and current students.

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