Today is the last “E” day of our school year.
Anyone outside our school network has no idea what that means, but to those inside, it is a pretty big deal! I’ll try to explain…
This year, our Lutheran school adopted a modified block schedule to try to solve some of our internal scheduling problems. At first glance, it is ugly and confusing:
It is a five-day schedule with four different sets of times, that looks SUPER convoluted at first but now that we’ve been using it for awhile, it has grown on me. The days are “paired” so students go to all eight periods three times per week (unlike the traditional ABA or BAB block schedule). If we have a day off because of schedule or snow, we drop the “E” day at the end so no one gets more time any other class.
So A days – the first day of every week no matter what – start at 9 AM. Sometimes we have teacher meetings, but sometimes we just have a late start, which is BEAUTIFUL. B days include chapel followed by small-group Bible study time called Koinonia. Historically our chapel was followed by a class, so any time chapel ran long (which was often) it cut into second period, always. This new schedule corrected that.
Lunches are always 60 minutes long. Last year we had 4 sliding lunches that were about 19 minutes long, and two of them were for split classes (go to third period for 20 minutes, go to lunch, go back to third period). Now everyone eats during the 60 minutes, but they also use that time to attend choir sectionals, meetings for student groups, or get help from teachers during designated office hours [More on this lunch in a different post].
Classes are 70 minutes long on A/B days and 85 minutes long on C/D days. For my AP English classes, this has been amazing. We can dig into material and have fabulous discussions, as well as have full timed AP test sections that we could never fit in the 45-50 minute class periods of the past.
The E Day
What is a butt, however, is the E day. In order to catch everyone up and not have any rollover for classes the next week, all eight classes meet in a row, generally on Fridays, for 40 minutes apiece.
This has become, in essence, the “test day” because teachers prefer giving tests to all classes on the same day. Also, after only doing four classes’ worth of homework each night, kids have to do all eight classes worth Thursday nights. They HATE E days. It is a slog for teachers too; I feel like I spend the entire day taking attendance and trying to remember to which class I told what.
It’s funny, because last year, when we had seven periods per day, students and teachers wanted to keep that, or add an eighth period with shorter classes. We actually lose quite a bit of class time minute-for-minute on this new block schedule, even though I feel I am better utilizing the time I have because I’m not quite so rushed. We chuckle (a bit sardonically) that the schedule we actually sought last year is the bane of our existence this year.
Anyway, because of AP testing, senior events, and exams, today is officially our last regular E day of the year. And because all the events happen in the spring, I have a TON of students out. My attendance roster today looks like this:
|The red is absents: 23 students out today alone.|
Students are out for field trips, job shadowing, illness, and everything in between. But on the bright side, it’s a lot easier to catch kids up for 40 minutes of missed class than 85 minutes. It is a relief, though, to know as I near the end of the year I don’t have any more panicked “E” days to try to push through! Year six is almost in the books.