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Building blocks for changing schools’ daily schedule in Richmond County Public Schools

Posted on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 10:49 am

Schmidt, pictured left, gives her presentation on block scheduling to the school board.

Time is a valuable tool in classroom instruction, school officials said during a meeting last Wednesday.

With the allocation of time for instruction playing a significant role in preparation for SOLs, school faculty and board members have suggested block scheduling for Rappahannock High School as early as the upcoming school year.

On Jan. 9, Assistant Superintendent Sarah Schmidt delivered a presentation to the school board on the various forms of block scheduling that they could implement.

Richmond County Public Schools currently uses the seven-class schedule, meaning that students attend the same seven classes everyday.

Should RHS shift to block scheduling next year, students would attend eight classes broken into four instructional periods on alternating days or semesters

Schmidt claimed that the extended class periods would allow teachers to work with less students and build better relationships.

She added that block scheduling would give children additional opportunities to earn credits towards graduation.

“If you do eight A-B [scheduling] or a four-by-four block, [students] have 32 chances to earn credits instead of 28,” Schmidt told the board.

RHS Principal Jesse Boyd said that block scheduling would cut in half the amount of time that students spend in the hallways between classes.

“In our current seven-period day, if you take all the transition time for…180 days of the school year, we spend about 13 days of school in the hallways,” said the principal.

The board approved Superintendent Dr. Greg Smith’s recommendation that they continue to give Boyd the latitude to explore and research the issue.

In related news, Smith received approval from the Virginia Board of Education for the Governor’s STEM Academy for Agricultural and Maritime Studies

The program would be held at the Northern Neck Technical Center, utilize distance learning and target careers based in the Northern Neck.

Smith said that if approved the STEM Academy would best be implemented through block scheduling.

“One of the restrictions this school system has is the time frame,” he said, adding that students traversing to the technical center would need the time provided by the block format to engage in the academy’s opportunities for exploratory learning.