A New Vision for Nanuet High School

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Many students and staff have been buzzing about summer and all their vacation plans, but before everyone leaves there’s something to look forward to when we come back in the fall – a new schedule! In the fall of 2017, our school will begin the pilot year of a new 55 minute rotating block schedule. During a long and detailed interview, Dr. McCahill shared the vision and reasons for the upcoming schedule change.

One of the main reasons for this schedule change is to modernize our high school. Dr. McCahill shared that the school community of Nanuet has been having ongoing open discussions about flipped classrooms, increases in technology use and availability, and creative design. He said that the Board of Education and staff felt that 42 minutes was not enough time for students to fully absorb the knowledge being distributed in each class. He wants students to utilize the extra time for deeper knowledge and analysis. Our school chose a modified version of a block schedule. Instead of changing from 42 minute periods to 80 minute periods, each period will be extended by 13 minutes and a common unit lunch period will be added.

Among the students at Nanuet High School, there are different opinions regarding the new schedule for the 2017-2018 school year. Some believe that there may be some problems caused by the new schedule. Michael Spallone, a member of the junior class, is concerned that seeing teachers only four days a week will be detrimental to the flow of the curriculum. Sophomore Monica Plunkett is also worried that with AP courses that cover more curriculum there won’t be enough time to cover all of the material when the class drops for a day.

Even with these concerns, most students from all grade levels are excited and ready for the new block schedule next year. According to junior Olivia Gray, the new schedule will be beneficial because teachers will be seeing students for a longer period of time during the 55 minute periods and will see fewer students each day. This gives students and teachers a better chance of getting to know each other, and teachers will learn what style of learning each student is comfortable with whether it be visual, auditory, or physical. Emma Kiernan, also a junior, believes that the new block schedule will allow teachers to have more time allotted to group and learning activities. This style of learning can create a fun yet educational environment. Sophomore Emma McCabe is excited for block scheduling in the new year due to the fact that there will be a decrease in classes per day resulting in less homework given each week and less information for students to absorb over the course of time. Lastly, freshman, Caroline Moran thinks that more will get done in the classroom because there will be more time for teachers to plan their lesson during planning periods. In general, students have heard that there are many great benefits for schools which use the block schedule in their district.

Many students are concerned that there will not be enough space for all students to eat. Dr. McCahill shared that other schools, such as Pascack Valley, Warwick, Suffern, and Nyack, who have the same model repeatedly said that students can be found sitting anywhere and everywhere, talking, eating and having a good time. “The idea is that this is your space, this is your building, this is your school and you can sit and eat wherever you want” said Dr. McCahill. The benefit of a unit lunch is that now different things like “lunch and learns” can be offered during this time. Guest speakers can be brought in to the auditorium and clubs can also meet during this time. Rumor had it that the school store would be gone because of the new construction and new schedule. Fear not – the school store is here to stay!

There were definite challenges in creating this schedule. It isn’t easy trying to please everyone. The Board of education had to decide whether to rotate the morning and afternoon classes separately or together. This is important because of the fact that not all students learn at the same pace at the same time of day. In conclusion Dr. McCahill wants everyone to know that he is always open for discussion and to keep an open mind when returning in the fall to try out this new schedule.

 

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A New Vision for Nanuet High School