POV: Blockship Schedulebury

Seahawks discuss the new block schedule

Campbell Helling, Copy

In recent weeks, the new block schedule for the 2023-2024 school year has been on the tip of many Seahawks’ tongues. The 75 minute rotating class schedule, with the newly-introduced 40 minute X-block, seems both daunting and exciting for many students.

Despite skepticism, Head of School Don Schawang is optimistic about the change. “I don’t think [students] are going to realize at first what those benefits are,” he says. “There’s going to be less mental waste with changing subjects. That’s exhausting … Having fewer class periods cleans up time, and you can go deeper into subjects and you can feel like you’ve gotten a lot more out of a class.”

In addition to the time benefits, he also is excited for the X-block’s potential. “I think having an X-block at the end of the day gives everyone open period/study hall time then. For students who have been interested in independent study, it will open up bigger blocks of time so they can leave campus.”

For freshman Ben Patterson, he is mostly excited for increased learning potential. “I think it will be better, because we can go more into depth about things in class, ” he says. On the other hand, his only skepticism lies with the X-block. “The one thing I’m kind of nervous about is that I’m still kind of confused with how the X block will work, and how open periods will work day-to-day.”

Sophomore Heba Aziz shares her concern about how long classes will be. “Well, I think that spending a lot more time in electives and having a lot longer classes as a whole could be hard … Already now, with some classes, we have 10 minutes before class ends and they’re already done, so having that amount of time could be hard.”Despite this, Aziz is intrigued by the less busy schedule. “The biggest benefit is having less classes in the day … and for teachers, if you need more time, you have more time for learning,” she says.

Schawang’s initial reason for changing the schedule was because a 45 minute class didn’t provide enough time for sufficient learning. “For years, I have heard comments from teachers about not having as much time as they like for lessons. I know for science, it’s a big deal not having enough time for labs. It’s very difficult for the teachers, and very difficult for the students,” he says. “I think the teachers will feel this quite a bit; they can go deeper in subjects. There’s a lot of time that gets lost with passing periods, and I think they’re going to get a lot of time back.”

Eighth grader Jace Asher is also most excited for “having [a] longer time to learn more” in class. When asked about the subjects that would benefit the most, Asher replied, “History, Math and Science would probably have the most positive change.”

Patterson agrees about which subjects could see the most impact. “I’m mostly excited to be able to do more labs in biology. And in math, sometimes it seems like there isn’t enough time to go through anything in one day,” he says.

Overall, though, this change is about the students and how to best suit their learning needs. According to Schawang, “It’s going to put more emphasis on student centered learning, on finding more varieties of methods to be utilizing in the classroom.” In fact, the school’s needs were at the forefront of the mind when crafting the schedule. “I got a group of interested faculty together, and we just put together the schedule ourselves. We started kicking the tires, and thinking about how we thought this should go … we thought it would be the right time.”

Above all, Schawang wants students and teachers to keep an open mind. “The only concern I have is that students and teachers don’t like change. And, I need to kind of nurture people along with this process to get them to accept that just because you don’t get something immediately, doesn’t mean that it’s bad,” he says. “I just need people to be patient because I think that students and teachers are going to benefit from this change.”