Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Norwalk Christian Academy will be closing after the 2016-2017 school year.
Block Schedule

At Norwalk Christian Academy, we have chosen to use a modified "block schedule" model for our class schedule. Block scheduling is not new, in fact has been around since 1963, when the traditional 7-8 class per day system came under scrutiny. Since that time, studies and research on the effectiveness of the block schedule have increased and revealed, as expected, both pros and cons of such scheduling.

In nearly all the studies, secondary schools were evaluated, and most of those schools had just begun the block schedule within the year of the study. There is very little research in the area of the effectiveness of block scheduling in middle or junior high schools (Gloria Chaika, article, Education World®), however, we'd like to note the strengths and weakness we perceive. Before we do that, allow us to clarify that we are using a "modified block schedule". This is important because, most of the cons of the block schedule refer to the "typical block", which includes the following components:

  • Fewer, but longer classes
  • Typical= 4, 90 minutes blocks
  • The school year is divided into two semesters, with 4 of what used to be year-long courses, completed each semester
  • This is called the 4 x 4 (semester) block schedule or the A/B alternating day schedule
  • Options to the semester classes are 30, 45, 65 or 90 day classes (Kathleen Cotton, A Paper on Block Scheduling)

We have modified the block schedule, in the following manner:

  • The same amount of classes as traditional (8)
  • 4, 60-65 minute blocks, each day (morning classes are 65 minutes, afternoon classes are
  • 60 minutes)
  • 1 homeroom/Lit period, daily
  • Every class is year long, and will not be condensed into 1 semester

We assure you, that we have considered in earnest what would be best for our students and their educational success. "A well-thought-out plan is essential to the success of any alternative schedule." (David Hottenstein, author of books on alternative scheduling and principal of Hatboro-Horsham High School (PA). Hatboro-Horsham has also had great success with the block format.)

When first presented with the idea of block scheduling, our basic concern was:

  • The attention span of the kids is already short, and we are struggling to keep them engaged, how can we add more time?
  • This is an MTV generation, 20 minute attention/sitcom attention

The pluses for blocking, for us, were:

  • Having fewer classes each day would help the kids immensely
  • The homework load would be lighter and more focused each night
  • Longer class time would allow for greater discussion, group work, interactive learning and labs

Eventually, we unanimously agreed that a block schedule would present more benefits to learning and decided to modify a typical block schedule. What we have created, is just that, a modification to the block. It is our custom schedule, designed to meet the needs of our student population. We are proud to offer what we believe to be a strong, academic program built within the framework of an effective schedule.

We are committed to nurturing an interactive learning environment within each classroom and develop the abilities of our staff to successfully function and flourish within this framework. In doing so, we believe that out students, as well, will flourish and succeed in their academic pursuits

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