SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School principal Dr. David Heisey presented the results of the school's trial of "block scheduling" at the SPFK12 Board of Education meeting on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019. 

Under block scheduling, classes would be twice as long, but only take place every other day. Dr. Heisey said that block scheduling cuts down on changing classes and the amount of time students spend in the hallway, cuts settling down time, and allows teachers to cover material more deeply.

"There's less time lost to open/close of class, and teachers can vary their teaching strategies," Dr. Heisey explained. "No college or university has 44 minute classes every day. Students must become accustomed to block scheduling." 

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Dr. Heisey said that he has been investigating block scheduling for three years and that a team visited several schools in the area (Hunterdon Central, Montgomery, South Brunswick, and Morris Knolls) that use block scheduling. He told the BOE that student feedback was overwhelmingly positive, based on surveys that SPFHS students took last week.

  • Nearly 88% of students said that block scheduling was a positive experience.
  • 80.3% said it makes the day "less stressful."
  • Almost 90% said they "made good use of study hall." 
  • 84.3% said they liked having classes every other day.
  • Almost 90% said block scheduling would help prepare them for college (where most classes are on a block schedule and do not meet every day).

Dr. Heisey said that the trial was also popular among teachers, although only 69% felt that students made good use of study hall. 

"The school schedule hasn't changed very much since the beginning of the 20th century," Dr. Heisey said. "A lot else has changed, but the structure of the day has been little changed."

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