LGHS switches to full block schedule

February 4, 2009 — by Ben Clement

After months of research and consideration, the administration at Los Gatos High School has announced the school’s switch to a full block schedule for the 2009/2010 school year.

A leading figure in the deliberations was Los Gatos assistant principal Markus Autrey, who witnessed the implementation of the block schedule while working at Saratoga High.

“A combination of factors influenced the decision,” said Autrey. “We began by looking at the data we put out as a school such as testing scores and rank as well as our student population, and brainstormed ways that we, as a faculty, could better meet the needs of this large variety of different students.”

The administration then began to interview faculty and students from various schools, including Saratoga High, that used different types of block schedules to learn the benefits and drawbacks of the variety of models. From there, the school looked at its student population and the areas in which the students were lacking. They then built the block schedule in a way to best make up for those deficits.

Although not everyone wanted the block schedule, Autrey believes that tensions will begin to settle now that the decision had been made.

“Now that we have decided in the switch to the new schedule as a school, the staff is committed to making it successful,” said Autrey.
Unlike Saratoga High, the Los Gatos block schedule does not have a day in which the students attend all of their classes, but is instead broken up into “A” and “B” days that alternate from school day to school day. The reason for this is that the majority of the staff wanted to have fixed times for classes, break, tutorial, and lunch every day, instead of varying from day to day, according to Autrey. Also, the staff wanted to be “fully immersed” in longer class periods so they could adopt and refine new teaching strategies.

As for the students, Autrey maintains that the students really will not know how to feel about the schedule until they have experienced it.

“Change is difficult for everyone, and it really is an unknown, however, [with this new schedule] there is definitely more time for the students to do their work and meet with their teachers for extra assistance,” said Autrey.

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