Vote Against the Proposed Drop Block Schedule for the 2017-2018 School Year

Petition Closed

Vote Against the Proposed Drop Block Schedule for the 2017-2018 School Year

This petition had 835 supporters

Garrett Coyne started this petition to North Hunterdon-Voorhees School District Board of Education

To the North Hunterdon-Voorhees District Board of Education and whomever it may concern,

The proposed Drop Block Schedule for the North Hunterdon-Voorhees School District will be very detrimental to the school's atmosphere of learning. The four day cycle of classes will drop two classes every day and change the time of day students will have classes. The schedule has ultimately five major problems at face value.

The first issue is the length of the classes. There is no evidence that by simply adding ten minutes to a class the student will learn substantially more information.

Secondly, the new schedule will put added stress on both the student body and faculty. Will our teachers be able to prepare for a 60 minute class? According to Education Partnerships Inc., for a class to be productive, “the class must be de-stressed because then it is more open to taking in information.” In that same article, the organization argues, for millennials to be engaged, “attention [must be] obtained, curiosity is aroused and the presentation has some form of novelty.” The drawn out classes may lead to loss of interest in the class, seemingly endless lectures, mental fatigue and time used ineffectively. The organization also states that out of the hundreds of studies they have reviewed, the evidence of the drop block schedule increasing test scores is inconclusive.

The next problem seen from theory is the lunch period. All 1,700 students having lunch in 50 minutes will be problematic. The first obstacle will be keeping order when the entire student body is released at once. This “free period” may leave many students participating in foul activities. Next is the cost to host a lunch period. The opening of new deli counters and snack shacks outside the cafeteria will bring the need for more lunch workers, but shorter hours. The longer lines may also discourage students to buy lunch which will bring profits down. More trash around the entire school will also increase the workload of the Maintenance Department. Those who choose to have a lunch will have theirs reduced by 20 minutes, and those who don’t will be losing credits. With the smaller lunches, students are already waiting 10 minutes in some instances to purchase their lunch. Adding more kiosks will only put a small dent in the already large problem.

It appears to us as a community that the change in scheduling is for the sole purpose of rising scores on the PARCC exam. Simply lengthening the time of classes will not result in better test scores. Many elementary and middle schools in the area are increasing time for math and language arts, and decreasing time for other classes. Students are now being forced to have a lunch period that could be used for taking other classes. Students hoping to enroll in extra AP or important elective classes such as Business or Musical Arts will have their ambitious spirits shot down. Students enrolled in Polytech will also be at a disadvantage. Are we willing to sacrifice the interests and drives of students for the very unpopular Common Core agenda? The positives put forth are that the schedule will add 225 minutes to the entire school year (less than one day of the current early dismissal schedule. Another is that students who miss classes for extra curricular activities will not continually miss the same class. However, most activities that do take away from class time such as Swimming, Golf, Football or Track, usually leave after 12:00. Lunch concludes at 11:30, and since the morning classes rotate separate from the afternoon classes, this is just simply not true. Thirdly, it is suggested that students will be able to meet with available staff during their lunch period, yet that is already the case due to the Subject Resource Rooms. Students also can meet with their teachers before and after school. The only statement that is angled at real learning is that teachers will now be able to go in depth into topics. Our Blue Ribbon Status and mentions on countless “Best Schools” lists suggests that teachers are doing a magnificent job. If a teacher missed time due to illness or private matters, will a substitute teacher be qualified to teach a productive 60 minute class?


The four day cycle of classes will make it hard to retain information for all students. World renowned author and member of the Hemingway family Jeff Lindsay claims that the block schedule results in wasted class time. Since most students attention spans are between 20-40 minutes, the extra time will be tuned out or simply left by teachers for games, movies or other non productive activities. He also writes that students with learning disabilities will be affected greatly as they are known to perform better in rhythms and shorter class times.

In conclusion, the proposed schedule for the 2017-2018 school year will not be beneficial to the school's atmosphere of learning and will only cause confusion, lack of interest and stress. The negatives of adding 10 extra minutes to each class weigh out the minor positives by a landslide.  The District will lose money, the teachers will lose a strong working environment but most importantly the students will lose valuable time that should be used to be learning.


On behalf of the Students of North Hunterdon and Voorhees, Future Students, Parents and Other Community Members,


Respectfully,

Garrett Coyne

 

 

Petition Closed

This petition had 835 supporters