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The Pony Express

The student news site of Stillwater Area High School

The Pony Express

The student news site of Stillwater Area High School

The Pony Express

Stillwater Pony Express

Administration proposes block scheduling for upcoming school year

Photo by Lainey Zinda
Seniors Sophie Gutzman and Avery Irlbeck play indoor games for Sports and Society class. A large goal for block scheduling is to give students more opportunities for electives.

Administrators are looking into implementing a new schedule starting fall of 2025; multiple schedules are being considered for the upcoming year. Administration is hoping this change will benefit students by giving them more opportunities for electives, reduce stress and help with mental health. The main schedule they are discussing is block scheduling.

The current schedule is run by 6 classes, each around 53 minutes long, 5 days a week. What a block schedule would do is split classes into two separate days (A and B days). Classes would be longer each day ranging from 90-120 minutes, but students would meet with teachers on alternating days, rather than daily. 

Block scheduling is starting to become more common in high schools because of the benefits it has given students. It allows students to get more one-on-one learning with their teachers, and for teachers to dig deeper into each lesson due to the extended class periods.

 “You get to build a better relationship with your teacher because you spend more time with that teacher,” Assistant Principal Matt Kraft explained.

 Research from the University of Missouri shows students tend to be more motivated to learn when a teacher cares for them and their education. 

“Teachers will have less students during the day,” Kraft added, with more time, teachers are able to build better connections to students and overall lead to better education.

Along with more time in class, students will also be given more options for electives throughout the year. By switching to a block schedule, students would be able to experience more electives that Stillwater has to offer. 

Another benefit to this schedule is there is less pressure put on students due to the extended amount of time for each course. Studies have shown students struggling with acedemic stress are more likely to develop some form of anxiety or depression. There could be a lot of factors that can cause stress in school, but the main stress for teens is homework. With longer periods and half the amount of classes each day, students would have more time to work on the lesson for the day. Reducing the amount of work needed to do at home. This could potentially decrease stress and help students improve their mental health.

“I think it definitely could affect the way that we learn overall,” junior student council member Maysen Puhrmann explained. Students could focus on their specific classes for that day instead of juggling six classes each day. 

The problem that comes with longer class periods is being absent for a day, as a student missing a day of school could severely jeopardize your grade depending on the class. This is because block scheduling fits an entire school year curriculum into one semester. Which, for some students could be beneficial, but for others this could bring them down. Block scheduling gives students the advantage of more time for work, but it takes time management and dedication to stay on top of it. Especially if students are absent. 

I don’t know if there is a one size fits all for everybody.

— Peter Hamilton

“I don’t know if there is a one size fits all for everybody,” math teacher Peter Hamilton said. Everybody learns at a different pace and not everyone is going to agree with how the schedule works. There are certain classes that operate better when they are everyday.

“I think the majority of students benefit from having math each and every day throughout the year,” Hamilton explained. This schedule is not for everybody which is why everything is still up in the air.

Another big concern with running a new schedule, especially a schedule with more opportunities for extracurriculars in the school year is the budget of it. To be able to run this kind of schedule more staff would be needed. If more staff is hired that means more staff to pay, which is a big part of the school budget. There is a lot to factor in with this.

Although the budget for block scheduling is larger than what we currently have, it could be a very beneficial way for students to manage their time properly. 

 “ We could look at being more balanced and a less stressful environment,” Kraft explained. Block scheduling could overall give students more time to focus on after school activities, jobs, and manage their social lives.  

With the obvious budget, and staff setbacks, though ideal, it is not ethical to start this schedule the upcoming year.

 “I don’t think that it’s realistic to expect this to take place next year,” Principal Robert Bach said.

Administration still has a lot to discuss and multiple different schedules to look into, so for now we will be continuing our current school schedule, but are open for new ideas.  Administrators want the best for students and staff, and they will continue to create ideas that could better our school in the future. 

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About the Contributor
Lainey Zinda
Lainey Zinda, Photography Editor
Hi my name is Lainey Zinda, I am a junior photographer for the Pony express. I am apart of the Stillwater Chevals Dance Team and I currently am in my Fall season. I enjoy writing and reading and playing with my dog Tuna. I am most looking forward to becoming closer with my classmates and working together to make an awesome paper! I cant wait to see everyones roles come together.   

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