By David Wilfong
In the coming school year, middle school students will be returning to a traditional schedule as the district has elected to abandon block scheduling at that grade level as well as at the new intermediate school.
“The reason we’re wanting to do that is so that we can get back to teaching math every day,” said Andy Molck, middle school principal. “Because of personnel units on the block schedule, kids are only getting math every other day. With state initiatives the way they are, we feel that it’s important that kids are getting math every day.”
Molck added that by moving back to a traditional schedule students will also be getting 60 minutes more each week of core curriculum classes.
The biggest concern in returning to a traditional schedule was having the teachers to fill out classes. Molck noted that the school was “a little heavy on the elective side,” but there were teachers in those courses that were also certified to teach core curriculum classes and would be able to move to facilitate the change.
Currently 50 percent of an eighth grade student’s schedule is elective courses. That will change with the new scheduling.
“Our focus is going to be more on core content,” Molck said. “Students will still be able to choose athletics or band. They can do both of those at one time. I know we had a situation where they competed against each other and that wasn’t good.”
Charlie Carroll did noted that block scheduling did have an advantage in some science areas.
“As a science teacher I always liked having block scheduling because most of your experiments and whatever you have as far as lab work is concerned usually took up more than 45 minutes,” Carroll said. “And so a lot of times you would have to modify the experiment. You’d have to start it one day and finish it up the next. So as a science teacher I always liked the block schedule. That’s the only negative of it that I can see.”
RCISD superintendent Randy Hancock added that returning to a traditional school schedule is not only happening in Royse City.
“There clearly are studies out there that would tend to show us that the block scheduling has not been as successful as many people thought,” Hancock said. “That’s not to say that you can’t find schools on a block schedule that are successful. But I think that the success that was predicted and anticipated when everyone started going to block scheduling 10 years ago has not come into fruition.
“Now, to say it’s solely the fault of block scheduling is probably not possible to say at all. But it has not done what most people thought it would do. The reality is it costs more to maintain a block schedule with personnel, and there just are potential consequences for kids in academic areas that we believe are probably detrimental in the long run.”
By David Wilfong