Dear WHS, block the stress and give us a block schedule

How many nights have you stayed up past midnight due to a heavy homework load? With a daily nine-period schedule, this is a common occurrence for many students, myself included, at WHS. 

WHS is one of the few schools in central New Jersey that holds students for nine periods a day. This system is failing to benefit the student body, and is in fact, resulting in negative implications. 

The WHS school system is unsympathetic to athletes, musicians, actors, or anyone in the school community who attend daily extracurriculars and meetings after school. In this case, most students do not get home until around 6 p.m. and usually have homework for at least five out of their nine classes every night because of WHS’ outdated schedule.

The full class scheduling causes stress amongst the student body who lack social opportunities to spend time with family and friends. Because, in order to get sufficient sleep, their homework needs to be done immediately after extracurriculars leaving little time for themselves. 

Additionally, teachers assign several assessments and projects on the same day. Typically, on Fridays and Wednesdays I have at least two tests or more, which causes long, stress-induced nights.

Recently, Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School and Cranford High School transitioned to a block schedule and saw significant improvements in students academically and mentally. SPFHS guidance counselor Cathy Hoffoman said, “Fewer students come to my office crying and feeling stressed about their overwhelming and unrealistic workload. Block schedules have led to a rise in grades and test scores as well.” 

Moving to a block schedule also helps prepare students for college, which has similar class times and structures, allowing more time for completion of assignments. Full schedules leave an unnecessarily small window for students to complete their homework, resulting in late nights and therefore causing students to be exhausted and lack focus in class the next day

Moreover, under the circumstances that a student is absent, block schedules will prevent them from missing every course, making it easier for students to catch up on missed work and class time lost.

Block scheduling offers many benefits for teachers as well, who have more time to plan their lessons and class time to accomplish their preferred amount of work, rather than feeling rushed in a 40-minute period. According to, in more than 100 case studies regarding dissertations and reports on block scheduling, the number of discipline referrals to the office is reduced, typically between 25 and 50 percent. Also, in-school suspensions decline and teacher and student attendance improve slightly. 

A form of block scheduling that would benefit WHS is the A/B schedule. A/B schedules would be extremely effective by creating a five-period class schedule, one of those being lunch.  Mondays and Thursdays would be “A” days with a set four classes and Tuesdays and Thursdays being “B” days containing the other classes. Wednesdays would alternate between A and B days every week and the classes could run for anywhere between 65 and 80 minutes so students stay engaged. 

WHS is in need of a change, and block scheduling is the perfect answer to transport us out of an outdated system and allow both the students and teachers to have a new opportunity to thrive mentally in a timely manner.