Eye of the Tiger

Blocks prevent schedule flexiblity

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Blocks prevent schedule flexiblity

(VIKTORIA BARR/EYE OF THE TIGER)

(VIKTORIA BARR/EYE OF THE TIGER)

(VIKTORIA BARR/EYE OF THE TIGER)

(VIKTORIA BARR/EYE OF THE TIGER)

NATE NGUYEN

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From freshman to junior year, the school exclusively offers what it labels as the advanced history courses in the form of year-long classes that alternate with their respective advanced English course.

This structure is designed with the hopes to improve AP test scores, as it would allow both courses to finish in the spring. However, while the system aids some, it leaves other kids in the dust.

Students striving to exceed in both areas and pass both the AP history and English tests because they are interested in the two subjects take many benefits from the block system – including longer exposure to material, more in depth coverage, and integration between the two classes. On the other hand, the system completely forgets the demographic of students with only an interest in taking advanced history.

History-driven students with an excess of extra-curricular activities such as athletics, clubs, or volunteer work have to choose between going all in with the block class or not taking their AP history course at all. Opting to stick it out in the block would result in a large workload for a subject they don’t want to take as well as a diluted course in what they do care about.

The yearlong worth of AP history blocked with an advanced English course often feels like four courses rather than two, as teachers try to match the work rate of their normal single semester classes.

Even though these blocks are aimed at driven students who plan to go on to a four year college, taking the courses in the usual system rather than as block classes would allow those students more flexibility in their schedules, as well as provide a more realistic experience with a college course’s pace. I hope to see this as an option in the future.

I would be more on board with the block classes if history and English weren’t the only courses given this special program. A science and math block class would have the same amount of connection and relevance to one another as a history and English course.

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