In a stressful school environment with so many moving parts, one night can make a huge difference for the rest of the week: Tuesday night. Let’s say you have a test on Thursday. If you get the other four subjects of homework done on Tuesday night, you are afforded flexibility in the rest of the week. You are now free to solely focus on studying for that test on Thursday or work on that art project or go to your club sports practice. We take it for granted now, but the long block schedule has been a very positive step by the school administration that truly makes a difference in our daily lives to relieve stress and give us more agency in time management.
Instituted in 2014, the long block schedule has helped to alleviate some pressure on students as it benefits those who plan ahead and get work done early. As the class of 2018, we are the second-to-last group to experience the old schedule of five classes for all five days of the week. Even as a 7th and 8th grader, I remember finding it difficult to do work for all my classes each and every night; I imagine it was tremendously difficult for the sophomores and juniors with that high-intensity schedule.
In addition to school nights becoming freer, so too do school days for upper schoolers. That one day with a free block means that most students will have only two classes and thus are able to study and do work during that 75-minute free period or go visit a teacher. The long block schedule also benefits teachers as they can dive further into topics in class with more time or perform labs/activities that last longer than 40 minutes. The long block schedule benefits the dedicated early birds who will get the worm as long as they put their heads down and work hard Tuesday night.
Paired with long blocks, another invention has come out of the administration in recent years: the rigid test day schedules. Over a weekly cycle, each subject is afforded primary and secondary testing days upon which the teacher can give full-period examinations or have papers due. This helps teachers plan assignments and set the speed of their course while also preventing a student from having multiple tests on one day and being spread too thin. Although this system gives students protections, the testing day schedule is not readily available online as Mr. Grant usually has to send it to a student upon request. Therefore, the schedule should be sent out to all students say at the beginning of the month so students can plan ahead and map out their study schedules.
Belmont Hill has worked hard to help students make the most of school and alleviate stress by creating the long block and testing day schedules. In light of this positive impetus from the school administration, I urge you, yes you reading–skimming–this article right now, to seize the day, to plan ahead, and to make the most of your Belmont Hill experience.