The idea to restructure our high school schedules around 5-week course blocks has been spinning in my head and evolving over the past week.  Under the current circumstances, this seems like a very viable option.  Below are the assumptions, logistics, pros, and cons.  I welcome your feedback to


Proposal for 5-week Block Scheduling


  • COVID is going to be with us through the year
  • There will be numerous schedule disruptions—moving from in-person to hybrid to remote
  • There will be students and teachers missing significant chunks of instructional time
  • The disruptions in schedules will make tracking the demands, measuring individual student progress, and developing relationships difficult


  • Every student would take one course at a time, every day, the entire day
  • Every teacher would teach only one course at a time, every day, the entire day
  • Every course would last 25 instructional days
  • There would be 7 course blocks offered during 2020-21
  • Teachers would teach 6 blocks to be considered full-time and receive a “break” during one of the 7 blocks for planning & recovery
  • There would be eligibility and accreditation concerns, but these can be addressed
  • It’s possible to modify for Middle Schools into two courses at a time (morning and afternoon?) and the same pros and cons apply


  • This keeps exposure low for teachers and students. Would allow for the possibility of in-person classes more frequently (if not full-time).  Hybrid scheduling would support this, too.
  • This simplifies the demands for students and teachers in a remote learning environment
  • We might be able to form “quarantine circles” with each cohort of students so they can form study groups (in-person or virtually) as well as the social and community aspect
  • This is innovative and differentiates us from other schools
  • This would allow for more personalization. Teachers could, for instance, set up weekly checkins with each students.  In a more traditional 7 period day, that type of individual attention would be difficult (if not impossible) to schedule
  • If you lose teachers (or still have holes to fill), you don’t need to fill those immediately.
  • We have a provider willing to offer accredited courses in our 5-week time frames
  • Admissions can only begin at the start of a block. Tuition can be charged/prorated by block
  • If a student gets sick, they might miss a block. If they can’t make it up, it doesn’t put them at a tremendous disadvantage.
  • A student might be able to make significant progress in one “subject” in one academic year—like two years of math or two years of a foreign language. And if we’re further limited by not offering PE or Fine Arts, that’s a great opportunity for our students
  • With more students clamoring to graduate early, this schedule would allow for more flexibility


  • Teachers might struggle to condense their year-long curriculum into a 5-week block
  • Students might be bored and disinterested
  • Math and foreign language teachers will argue that taking away the consistent practice might hinder learning
  • PE and Fine Arts teachers might not like the condensed look. However, those subjects might not be offered this year.
  • This is too much change, too soon
  • Religion teachers would miss the yearlong formation of students.