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The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

Bruin Block schedule to change for next year

[heading size=”15″]Next year, longer classes, shorter lunch periods will be in schedule[/heading]
Students participate in Bruin Block Olympics, a competition between different Bruin Block classes, today. A committee of RBHS faculty members has decided to limit Bruin Block to two days a week instead of the current daily class for the 2014-2015 school year. Photo by Sean Doherty
The Bruin Block committee in charge of making decision regarding the 30-minute daily block has decided to alter the schedule for the class. The change, which will limit Bruin Block to only two days a week instead of daily, will come into effect for the 2014-2015 school year.
RBHS principal Dr. Jennifer Mast said the committee has been reviewing the new course throughout the year and only recently made the decision to implement these changes.
The committee “had gotten to the point where they needed to be planning for next year, so we needed to approach it as a five-day week plan or whatever it would be,” she said. “So in December they asked me what direction we were thinking about going [in], and since I’d already talked with all faculty and staff, I really felt comfortable that we wanted be scale it back and do a two or maybe three-day week, but in general we’ve kind of [decided] on the two-day week.”
A forum open to students and their parents or guardians will be at 7 p.m. today in the RBHS Media Center. There, attendees will  discuss Bruin Block, as well as other topics, such as lunch policies and parking. Mast said the forums, sponsored by the RBHS PTSA, will help address some of the questions the community has about the schedule and policy changes that might take place next year.
“It’s really a panel discussion. Rock Bridge faculty and staff are on the panel, and we have some very specific questions that the PTSA crafted from the survey,” Mast said. “They took the survey results and then crafted some questions that would speak to some of the survey results. So we’re going to be responding to some questions just for communication’s sake.”
The committee, made up of RBHS faculty members, received feedback from parents and students by sending a survey to all RBHS student and parent email accounts, asking for their opinions on various school issues such as AUT, parking, and lunch. The survey included a question on Bruin Block, through which the committee received feedback on ways the class could be improved for next year’s students.
Before the survey, though, the committee had a difficult time getting proper feedback on Bruin Block from students.
“We didn’t have formal feedback on Bruin Block from parents,” Mast said. “We had lots of feedback from students, especially early on in the year, so student feedback had somewhat of an influence. But we tried many, many, many times to get student feedback on Bruin Block through Student Coalition and forums like Student Coalition, and very, very few people showed up. So there was a lot, within Bruin Block, basic complaining, but when we were asking questions and needed information, students weren’t really volunteering information on how we could make it better and what were the specific issues.”
Mast believed general opposition to Bruin Block was understandable because it was a pilot program and needed some improvements. 

“Ultimately, there will be two types of days; there will be a ‘Like day,’ and there will be a Bruin Block day. And once you’ve done that for three weeks or four weeks, it will become commonplace.”-Dr. Jen Mast, principal

“When we asked for specific feedback, we had a hard time getting it,” Mast said. “So we knew … that would be the general consensus with Bruin Block because it was a brand new program. Especially for freshman and sophomores in a building where juniors and seniors had a longer lunch, and juniors and seniors had never had a Bruin Block experience. It’s very natural for students to be against a change like that.”
Sophomore Marco Rea is one of the students who is against Bruin Block continuing to operate the same way. He believes the new changes were necessary in order to make the class more helpful towards transitioning students into RBHS because he didn’t feel that smooth transition into the school himself.
“It’s good because Bruin Block really isn’t necessary every day,” Sophomore Marco Rea said. “We really haven’t done anything that has welcomed me, it was more of just irrelevant stuff, to be honest. Other than meeting the counselors, [which] I think we could have done in advisory, I feel like it didn’t do that big of a job welcoming us. ”
Rea also believes the structure of Bruin Block should also be changed so that the curriculum is geared more towards helping the students prepare for the next years of high school and college.
They should “definitely change what we do in there, because I feel like four days out of five, we just sit there and talk to each other,” Rea said. “Hopefully [we will do] stuff that actually helps. Like the college exploration, that was actually pretty helpful, so stuff like that where we’re going to need it for later.”
Sophomore Melisa Hasanovic agreed that Bruin Block has potential to help students with the confusing parts of high school, but there are still many changes to be made before it achieves that purpose.
“I think we shouldn’t get rid of it completely, because in a way it does help with future career planning and telling us what colleges are good and stuff,” sophomore Melisa Hasanovic said. “So we should still have it, but definitely not every day because that’s a waste of our time.”
RBHS Social Studies teacher Matt Dingler is on the committee that decides the fate of Bruin Block in the coming years. He said the program definitely needed changes and required tweaking in order for it to fit in with the culture at RBHS. Limiting Bruin Block to only two days a week means less stress for both students and teachers, as well.
“The two-day thing came from the idea, largely that nothing in Rock Bridge really happens every day. That’s very contrary to the schedule that we’ve always had with block scheduling,” Dingler said. “So it’s a very different thing to have something be every day, and it’s also a big burden on teachers to prepare something every day for Bruin Block. And so we wanted to alleviate some of that stress, and when you do that, it also makes a better environment.”
Mast said freshman, sophomores and juniors will be required to take Bruin Block next year, while seniors will not. However, the change will alter the weekly schedule significantly; two days will be Bruin Block days, which means seniors will get a long lunch and underclassmen will be required to attend Bruin Block.
The other days of the week will be similar to “Like Days” and will consist of longer classes and shorter lunch periods. The schedule will be new because going back to last year’s schedule will be difficult, Dingler said.
“Three of the days of the week will be ‘Like Days’. We can’t go back to the old schedule because of the later start time; that’s impossible,” she said. Because technically, the state of Missouri won’t let us serve lunch past a certain point, so there’s no way we could go back to the old schedule that we had [last year]. Ultimately, there will be two types of days; there will be a ‘Like day,’ and there will be a Bruin Block day. And once you’ve done that for three weeks or four weeks, it will become commonplace.”
By Afsah Khan
Additional reporting by Renata Williams
What do you think of the changes to come in the daily schedule for next year?

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  • N

    Nicole SchroederFeb 23, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    I will be interested to hear students’ reactions next year to the new Bruin Block scheduling, as well as how it will work compared to this year. I hope that next year’s Bruin Block schedule will receive more positive feedback and teach a wider variety of curriculum than this year to make the experience better overall.

  • A

    Abby KempfFeb 21, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    I think these changes are a step in the right direction. Bruin Block has potential to be helpful, but this year it turned out to pretty much be a waste due to the overwhelming negative attitudes of the freshmen and sophomores. Once Bruin Block is a normal part of RB curriculum I think it could really be helpful for underclassmen.

  • B

    Bryce CordryFeb 20, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    The office will have to be careful when they decide when the assemblies will be, and when to have Global Village as to keep the balance between A day class minutes and B day class minutes. Just one more thing for me to do over the summer which I will spend there!!