Students argue whether block schedule should come to La Serna

Bella Gil, Staff Writer

Some people love block schedule and some people hate it. Unlike every other school in the Whittier Union High School District, La Serna is the only school in the district who does not participate in block schedule.

A block schedule focuses on having three longer classes a day rather than six short classes. Block schedule works by alternating each class every other day. For example, Mondays, a student has class periods one, three and five, while the next day, Tuesday, they have class periods two, four, and six. This pattern continues throughout the week except for Friday, which is late-start day in most schools in our district. On late start days, the student typically has all classes to balance out the block schedule.

Although La Serna gets a taste of block schedule during finals and when the junior class takes their SBAC test, La Serna students typically think that regular schedule is the best choice. One sophomore, David Roman, thinks otherwise.

Roman recently presented to the staff and teachers of La Serna why block schedule would benefit La Serna. “Although regular schedule makes La Serna unique, students would benefit from a block type of schedule because it offers multiple options,” Roman said. Roman had experienced block schedule at his old high school in Washington D.C and prefers it more because it offers balance for those who take multiple AP and Honors classes. ” A block schedule allows more time for students to get homework and projects done because of the extra day between each class,” Roman said.

Allison Ussery, a junior at Santa Fe High School where block schedule is usual, explains how block schedule also benefits those who are struggling within their classes. “We have this thing called embedded support. Embedded support, which is twenty minutes long, is during class, and is for people who need to stay and ask for help and do homework one-on-one with their teacher,” Ussery said. If a student does not need extra help, and if their teacher permits it, they are allowed to leave class twenty minutes early, allowing a longer nutrition or lunch period, and an hour and forty minute class rather than a two hour class. “Depending on if I’m struggling in a class or not, I’ll stay for embedded support. For example, I wasn’t doing so well in my math class, and after staying for a couple of weeks, it really helped me improve my grade,” Ussery said.

Although Roman and Ussery offer interesting arguments, La Serna sophomore, Daniela Bergerson does not think block schedule would benefit La Serna. “Block schedule does not seem practical because student athletes have a disadvantage. On 2,4,6 days, students have their sport during the regular school day, but on 1,3,5 days, they do not, which makes them stay longer after school, causing homework and other after-school errands to be pushed back throughout the day. Our regular schedule. . . offers consistency, and doesn’t allow students to leave any earlier or. . . later than they should,” Bergerson said. Most students against block schedule argue that the periods are simply too long. Sitting in one class for two hours may seem tedious not only for the student, but the teacher as well. “Students get bored after just one hour, and will probably begin to drift off or tune out their teacher,” Bergerson said.

Before writing this story, I was anti-block schedule. Sitting in a class for two hours listening to a teacher go on and on seemed so boring. But as I interviewed Ussery and Roman I found myself wishing to have such a flexible schedule, especially with the heavy workload from Honors and AP classes that I take. I also found myself defending block schedule as I asked Bergerson why she wasn’t for it. Block schedule would be more generous in giving time for homework and projects. However, I still somewhat agree with Bergerson and other students of La Serna; I am happy with my normal schedule. Change is always good, but a drastic change like this would result with unhappy students.

People are most comfortable with their usual routine, which explains why Bergerson is in support of regular schedule after becoming acquired to it during her years at La Serna. It also explains why Roman and Ussery are in support of block schedule after becoming used to it for a long amount of time. A shift in routine at La Serna would result in baffled students, who would have no choice but to adjust to a new way of learning and attending classes. Although La Serna continues to be the only school in the district without block schedule, one can never predict what changes are to come with a new school year and how students, and teachers, would react to such changes.