Jackson-Reed to return to block schedule next year

Simon Holland, Style Editor

After two years with the 4×4 schedule, Jackson-Reed decided to return to the block schedule for the 2022-23 school year. The change follows surveys conducted due to pressure from the school community.

Under the block schedule, students take all eight classes at once. On A days, students have four of their eight classes, and on B days they take the other four. However, classes with a failure rate above 10% will be semesterised. There are currently six courses that will be semesterised, according to Interim Principal Gregory Bargeman. Jackson-Reed will offer one section of each of these classes (per semester) in this condensed, 4×4 format. 

The changes mainly stemmed from an LSAT survey, according to Bargeman. The survey found that 70 percent of respondents from the Jackson-Reed community supported returning to the block schedule. 

In addition to this survey, Bargeman noted that there was a general push within the Jackson-Reed community to return to the block schedule. The music department was particularly affected by the schedule.

 “We used to have the orchestra for graduation, but they had that first semester, so they’re trying to pull people together,” Bargeman explained. The change to the block would resolve this issue, since full-credit music classes could happen year-round again. 

Since its introduction in the 2020-21 school year, the 4×4 schedule has received mixed reviews from students and faculty members. Some students benefited from the limited number of classes per semester within the 4×4.

Junior Oscar Stomberg explained that he liked the 4×4, since it helped him stay organized. “One thing I’ve always struggled with was keeping on top of all my assignments, and I’ve done better this year than in any other previous year.”

On the other hand, some felt like their days became monotonous and rushed.

Freshman Devan Mehta expressed her displeasure with the crammed nature of the 4×4. She said she found only having certain classes for half of the year was detrimental. “It’s [not] in the best interest of the student body to only take math for half of the year.” Mehta said.

Teachers, especially those teaching AP courses, said they see pros and cons to both schedules. “[The new schedule could] positively affect course pacing for all AP classes. However, it will be more difficult to provide meaningful feedback because of the sheer volume of AP courses meeting all at once,” social Studies teacher Robert Geremia said. 

Meanwhile, science teacher Jean-Claude Nkongolo does not think the effect on his AP classes will be as drastic since AP Chemistry met for both semesters this year. However, he does think it may negatively affect his Honors Chemistry classes, explaining that “the gap between days may have an impact on [students] comprehension.”

Despite differing opinions, Jackson-Reed will return to the block schedule for the 2022-23 school year. •