[ HAWAII'S SCHOOLS ]
Each week, Hawaii's teenage reporters and photographers tell us about their high school. Today's school: Baldwin High
Pros and cons of going around the block
A new schedule has students go to four long classes instead of six short ones
Baldwin's new block schedule, which began this school year, gives students the opportunity to earn two additional credits per year.
Instead of the traditional six classes a day, students and teachers at Baldwin now only have four. Although the number of classes has decreased, the amount of time in each class has increased. With the previous six classes a day, class time ranged from 45 to 55 minutes. With four classes a day, class time ranges from 60 to 75 minutes.
BALDWIN HIGH SCHOOL
Address: 1650 Kaahumanu Ave., Wailuku, HI 96793
Principal: Natalie Gonsalves
Colors: Maroon and blue
About the school's newspaper:
Name: Baldwin Courier
Faculty adviser: Linda Coleon
With the new schedule, students take four classes each semester, totaling eight classes a school year. At the end of the year, a student can earn eight credits. For the students graduating after the class of 2009, the four-by-four block schedule seems to be the best solution; students after the class of 2009 will be required to graduate with a total of 24 credits, and 26 credits for a Board of Education diploma.
Many students have their opinions about the new block schedule.
"I think the block schedule is OK," says junior Archee Ollero. "It gives me more time to do my work in class so that I don't have as much to do at home. Some students might just think it's hard for now because it's new and we're not used to it yet."
THE LENGTHIER class time has advantages and disadvantages. More class time gives teachers more instructional time and contact with students. It gives students additional time to complete work and do activities in class.
"I love the block schedule," says English teacher Kindra Sabado. "I can get more work done and have more contact with students, but the most challenging thing with the schedule is putting a whole year's curriculum into one semester."
However, some students do not like the longer periods. There are teachers who do not use class time as well as they should, and many students find classes boring. Such students say that some teachers just assign the work without teaching the lesson thoroughly.
Some students say they are doing one activity throughout the whole period, such as just reading or writing during the whole period, rather than having a variety of things to do or doing things in different ways.
Some say having four classes is better with the block schedule. Students have fewer classes to study for each day. Teachers have three instructional classes, resulting in less lesson planning for them.
The majority of classes are one semester long. A few classes, such as Advanced Placement courses, Newswriting and Yearbook, are year-long and meet on alternating days of the week.
Daily attendance becomes even more important with the new schedule. One class session under the new block schedule is the equivalent of two traditional sessions. It makes it more difficult for students to make up schoolwork.