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  • November 18Girls varsity volleyball team defeats Marin Academy, 3-1, to win CIF Division IV State Championship!
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The News Website for Glendale High School


The News Website for Glendale High School


A Mental Block?

GHS staff and students have mixed feelings about the change to a block schedule

Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, Glendale High School, along with Hoover and Crescenta Valley High School, implemented the “traditional” six-period schedule. By this schedule, students would see all of their teachers each school day, which was made up of six periods. If someone wanted an extra elective, they could choose a zero period, which would take place in the morning before first period. 

However, once school went online for a year, GHS transitioned to a new block schedule. With this new schedule, students now see up to four teachers each regular school day. All students have also received an extra elective in the form of a seventh period, which is shorter than the other periods but meets every school day.

All other GUSD high schools have since switched to a block schedule as well. Their schedules closely resemble our current one.

But why did our schedule change, seemingly out of the blue?

According to GHS principal, Dr. Benjamin Wolf, block schedules “are very common in many high schools across the country.” They are more efficient, since they allow students to take more elective classes, to complete fewer assignments every night, and to focus on each class for longer, uninterrupted periods of time. 

As for what triggered the change in our own district, Dr. Wolf says that the block schedule made remote learning easier to handle. Once we returned to school, a district-wide decision was made to permanently implement it and add a seventh period to most students’ schedules.

Dr. Wolf said that he prefers the block schedule, because students are given more class choices, and they also have the opportunity to take more electives, as well as to experience more in-depth and creative lessons.

Yet the question remains: what do the students and teachers of GHS think of this new schedule?

Most teachers admit that this schedule has been the cause of some difficulties. They said that it is now more difficult to teach academic subjects, such as math and English, because it is hard for students to focus for such a long period of time. 

Mr. Jon Livingston, who is only teaching electives this year (ASB, Journalism, and Yearbook), and he believes that the block schedule is better for electives, since his students don’t need to see him every school day. 

However, not seeing students every day can be detrimental for some classes. Spanish teacher, Ms. Kristina Carbajal, thinks that learning Spanish would be an easier process if her students saw her everyday. 

Although some teachers’ adjustment to the new schedule has been difficult, many have said that they prefer it. They believe that this schedule gives their classes certain opportunities that the previous schedule did not. For example, Mr. Chris O’Malley says that, as an Advanced Placement teacher, longer class periods allow him to give students longer tests to prepare them for their AP exam. 

Overall, teachers reported liking the block schedule better than the traditional six-period schedule, since they now have fewer classes to prepare for on any given day. 

A conflicting sentiment was expressed by our student body. Many admitted that the new regular class time of an hour and a half is exhaustingly long, making it harder to focus on lessons. Sophomore Narine Hovhannisyan pointed out that she felt less connected with teachers because she did not see them each school day. Senior Leona Khodabakhshi further noted that the block schedule makes her feel like she is learning less during class time, because there is a one-day gap between her classes.

Yet despite these setbacks, many students said that they like the new schedule. 

Freshman Mia Gonzalez and senior Georgia Horton both said that the block schedule has allowed them to bring fewer books to school each day. Junior Sheeva Manesh said that the block schedule has helped her to balance her harder subjects better, because having fewer classes in a day makes the work feel less overwhelming.

Recently hired teacher, Ms. Sevana Stepanian, agrees with this sentiment, as both a former GHS student and current member of the GHS English Language Development department. She said that she enjoys the block schedule, because as a teacher, it is much easier to plan her classes around it. She also believes that the schedule is beneficial for students, as it prepares them for what college classes are like. 

Additionally, math teacher and water polo coach, Mr. Narek Vardanian, expressed that the schedule change is a great opportunity for students to step outside of their comfort zone and work together as a community to adapt to these new learning conditions.

Another addition to the new schedule this year was the seventh period.

Some teachers, such as Mr. O’Malley, have said that planning for a Period 7 class is more difficult, since that class has to keep pace with the classes that teachers see every other day, which is harder to manage.

Similarly, drama and English teacher, Mrs. Holly Donohue, said that a seventh period works better for electives, such as her drama class, since students are unlikely to fully focus on an academic class, like English or science, at the end of the day. 

Overall, teachers have displayed positive emotions for the block schedule. Teachers without a Period 7 class use that time to prepare for their classes the next day, which many of them find very helpful. 

Mr. Vardanian has said that the seventh period is very helpful for athletes who do not have to miss the same class every day if they leave early for games. Teachers also have a better opportunity to bond and build connections with their Period 7 students, because they see them  each school day.

However, some students believe that seventh period should be optional for everyone, not just for seniors. It is true that students have all gained an extra elective, but some students believe that they should be able to decide whether they want to take it or not. Apart from that, Period 7 classes are often exhausting, especially if it’s an academic course.

On the other hand, many students see the benefit in an extra elective. Senior Georgia Horton said that the seventh period has allowed her to take a drama class, which would not have fit into her schedule otherwise. 

Athletes also enjoy having their sport as a 7th period. Junior soccer player, Bianca Hinojosa, said that “it’s nice to leave early when we don’t have practice.” Freshman Mia Gonzalez, a member of the water polo team, said that she enjoys having her sport at the end of the day, as it allows her to unwind from the day’s events and stay calm. 

Ultimately, Dr. Wolf has indicated that the block schedule at GHS is here to stay. We are still in the adjustment phase of adapting to this schedule, but both he and the district believe that the benefits it has to offer will be a great improvement for students’ education.

About the Contributor
Kristina Kugaevskaya
Kristina Kugaevskaya, Editor-in-Chief
Kristina is a senior at Glendale High School. She is the co-president of the Book Club and the Creative Writing Club, and she is the secretary of the Red Cross Club. In her spare time, she loves reading, baking, and going out into nature. In the future, she hopes to travel Europe and pursue a career in writing.
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