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The big, bad, fifth block: frivolous or fruitful?

Next year’s five-block schedule is a topic almost every BHS student is aware of, but very few completely understand. Its appearance within conversation always comes many unspoken questions. How will transportation be handled for those who cannot drive? How will students who receive the early release schedule juggle sports or clubs? Can one even choose which schedule they receive? These recurring questions are essential to be answered for Bedford’s student body to be sufficiently prepared for this upcoming year.

Students are not the only ones that are to be affected by this alteration in routine; teachers have to adjust as well. According to Mr. Jozokos, all educators were sent an initial email from Mr. Hagen regarding the changes, then given a more intimate session through department meetings. These conferences provide staff with an opportunity to ask any questions they may have had, and to absolve any concerns that may have arisen. As such, any unanswered inquiries a student may have can most likely be answered by any of their teachers. The role of staff within BHS cannot be understated; a student’s quality of education relies almost entirely on the vessel of education that is passing that knowledge down to them. As such, these hard working individuals deserve reasonable working hours, especially considering the time they sacrifice to extra help sessions. So, will Bedford’s valued instructors be required to work overtime at the end of the day? Well, yes; however, not forcibly so. Staff were asked to volunteer to teach within this extra block.  Some classes that will be taught within the span of fifth block include Intro to Cooking, Spanish I, In Writing for both semesters, a section of Band, and, finally, Personal Finance for both semesters. However, whether a student partakes in fifth block is not dictated by whether they partake in these classes. Students will have a distinct choice of whether or not they would like to take these classes during fifth block. The entire shifted schedule is entirely voluntary. Furthermore, schedules can be altered at the beginning of the year during the usual drop/add days, as one would for any regular classes or electives. However, when one is deciding whether to partake in this new block, one must seriously consider two things. First: extracurriculars. Sports will be impossible to manage if one chooses to partake in the fifth block. Clubs are a slightly easier task to work with in relation to the new schedule. Since fifth block will only be on every other day, after school club meetings can be scheduled for days that forgo that extra block. As for transportation, the Superintendent’s budget allows for late buses to transport students from their respective halves of the town. Of course, being dropped off is always a viable option; just make it on time for advisory! The fifth block schedule begins with advisory block, with arrival time being 9:21 a.m. and dismissal at 4:00 p.m.

So, what is the point? Now that the details of this new schedule have been presented, one is left to wonder why this new schedule is even being implemented. Seems a bit frivolous, no? When asked what benefits a BHS student could reap from the availability of an alternate schedule, Mr. Jozokos replied in two parts. The first being how it contributes to the bigger picture; with so many students signing up for a multitude of classes, the process of fitting it all into an eight block schedule becomes increasingly difficult. Offering a different schedule will eliminate cramped classrooms. On a more individual scale, high school students have a tendency to require more sleep than the average adult. This later start in the morning could improve engagement, as a well rested student is a more receptive student. With all of these inquiries quelled, the new schedule seems a whole lot less ominous, and a whole lot more like a necessary addition to the high school community.

 

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