Bruin Block provides students with a consistent family style community

Art+by+Jake+Alden

Art by Jake Alden

Jake Alden

Art by Ian Gibbs and Jake Alden
Art by Ian Gibbs and Jake Alden

Their very first year at RBHS, sophomores are given an obligatory class known as Advisory. This hour and a half serves the combined role of a high school orientation, study hall, emotional safety net and home-away-from-home. However, after their sophomore year, students are turned loose for their brand new AUT. Although they’ve certainly earned this new found freedom, juniors and seniors lose access to that smaller, close-knit support unit and academic aid that, till now, only Sophomore Advisory offered.
The proposed Bruin Block class provides a remedy to this.
The new period, if teachers and administrators vote it through, will be a 31-minute class opposite students’ lunch every day. During the class, teachers will provide various lessons tooled to the students’ grade level, like RBHS orientations for freshmen, ACT prep for sophomores and juniors, and, eventually, college application assistance for seniors. Initially, the block will only be provided for 9th and 10th graders, but if it’s a success, juniors and seniors will be phased into the system in 2015 and ’16.
That gradual integration will be one of many aspects dedicated to making this change a smooth transition, and it’ll help Bruin Block become a successful institution. The block’s teachers will also remain with one class for all four years, which helps provide students with an easily accessible mentor and support system during their entire time at Rock Bridge. The entire setup of Bruin Block helps encourage a sense of consistency alongside growth for students during their high school career.
One of the arguments recently brought against Bruin Block is the concern over the lost class time by removing a half-hour chunk from the school day. However, the plans for the block line out a means by which to restore other classes with time to fit in their whole curriculum. Whenever a week with an assembly or an event like Global Village comes around, Bruin Block will be temporarily cancelled for the week and the extra half-hour will be rolled back into other classes. With seven such weeks throughout the year, this can more than make up for lost time.
Ultimately, Bruin Block is an opportunity to make sure that every student at RBHS has their education supplemented with lessons that will help them succeed outside high school, whether it’s assistance with applying for scholarships or writing resumes. More than that, Bruin Block is a guarantee that RBHS’ citizens all have a community to belong to.
By Jake Alden