After much research and careful consideration, STVM will be transitioning to a block schedule beginning with the 2020-2021 school year. This shift from a traditional schedule to the block schedule has been investigated and researched by the administration during the past two years. When making the plans to implement the House System, we identified very quickly that the vast majority of high schools that have a robust and successful House System also employ the block schedule.
While it has always been the plan to transition to a block schedule in the next year or two, the decision to implement that change now was cemented when the Academic Subcommittee of the Return to School Task Force approached the administration requesting the consideration of block scheduling for the upcoming school year. One reason for the request was a desire for increased instructional time. This committee calculated the number of minutes in class when implementing a traditional eight period/day schedule to be approximately 200 minutes/week. By implementing the block schedule, students will receive 230-250 minutes/week, utilizing an A/B model with a “flex" day.
See the daily schedule here
There are a number of benefits to utilizing a block schedule. A
separate section of the STVM website
has been created to answer any questions you may have regarding block scheduling. There is a robust list of the many benefits a block schedule affords as well as links to additional resources and a page of FAQs. Approximately 50% of the teachers at STVM already have experience teaching in a block schedule. We will utilize our experienced faculty to partner with those with limited experience designing lessons for a block schedule. Professional development opportunities will be frequent and ongoing throughout this year and next. For years, STVM has successfully implemented multiple courses in a block model. Several teachers were asked to share their experiences with and support for teaching in a block schedule.
In the current and uncertain health crisis surrounding COVID-19, transitioning to the block schedule not only increases instructional time, but it minimizes the number of class transitions during the school day, limiting the amount of time students will spend in the hallways.
One of the biggest benefits for STVM students is the flexibility to take additional electives. In previous years, a student that was interested in taking multiple science courses during their junior and senior year was severely limited and hindered by the confines of one additional day each week devoted to science labs. By transitioning to block scheduling, the additional day is no longer needed for science labs. Labs can now be done when the curriculum warrants, not needing to wait for one specific day of the week. This frees up a student’s schedule significantly and creates an additional spot in the schedule to earn more credits and investigate electives of interest.
An additional benefit for transitioning this year is the ability to quickly and effectively transition to a hybrid schedule (where 50% of the student body would attend 2 days/week) as well as a quick shift to 100% e-learning for all students, if directed by the governor. A plan for both models is already created should the need arise with the current COVID situation.
Typically, an announcement of this magnitude would be made in conjunction with a parent presentation. In order to provide you with additional information and insight into this decision, a video will be uploaded to the
by the end of next week. We would be happy to address any particular questions you may be left with after reviewing all of the documents on the website. Please use
this google form
to ask questions that will be answered in the video presentation.
It is definitely an exciting time to be Irish! We are always looking for ways to improve on a historically successful model and both the House System and block scheduling will allow us to propel into an even brighter future.