District 214 begins pilot of block schedules
Why a block schedule pilot now?
An update on the 2021-2022 schedule: District 214 adopted a block schedule throughout the 2020-2021 school year to better accommodate student and staff needs during hybrid learning. Because many students, parents and teachers expressed a preference for this schedule and noted the benefits of a block schedule, District 214 sought feedback through a survey earlier this year and has continued to receive feedback in the intervening months. The survey results indicated that a significant majority of students, parents and staff are interested in implementing a block schedule pilot. Based on that feedback, 214 will be implementing a block schedule pilot at all of its six comprehensive high schools beginning next year. After the pilot concludes, we will review data and once again survey students, parents and staff regarding future years’ schedules.
Block Schedule Details
The schedule for the pilot will consist of eight alternating class periods across two days. Each block will consist of 80 minutes of instructional time with one block each day extended to 130 minutes to accommodate a 45-minute lunch hour. The 45-minute lunch will provide flexibility in scheduling and for students in music programs to continue to meet on a more frequent basis. Passing periods will be five minutes and the student school day will run from 8:35 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
In addition to the positive feedback that we received from the survey, a few factors are driving the timing of the implementation of the schedule:
Flexibility to Address Access to Electives and Dual Credit Opportunities
We need increased scheduling flexibility to maintain the current level of access to electives. The A/B block schedule eliminates lunch as one of the eight class periods, resulting in fewer conflicts and increased student course enrollments.
Additionally, students taking dual credit courses at Harper College may only need to miss one class period rather than several class periods in a traditional eight period day.
Study Hall and/or Additional Courses
For a number of years, students at Rolling Meadows have had a seminar period rather than a study hall. We are looking at providing a seminar-like experience for all District students by providing access to content area teachers throughout the day and for twenty minutes after the fourth block of each day. Students will have a built-in option for study hall while still maintaining a full course load in order to access these academic supports.
Practicing quarantine and isolation has been codified in Illinois law and an alternative block schedule will likely limit the number of students impacted by quarantines as a student would only be participating in a maximum of four classes per day instead of eight.