block schedule
Montclair High School. The school plans to switch from a period schedule to a block schedule next year. 
PHOTO BY ADAM ANIK

By ERIN ROLL
roll@montclairlocal.news

Montclair High School is switching to a new schedule for the next school year.

The high school currently follows an eight-period schedule including lunch, with about 44 minutes per class, in which students attend the same seven classes each day.

Under the new block scheduling, known as the “double rotating drop schedule,” students will register for a total of eight 80-minute classes during the school year: four in the morning and four in the afternoon. But not all of those classes will be taken on the same day.

On a rotating schedule, students will take a different sequence of different classes. On a given day, students will take six classes, and those classes will rotate to different time slots.

The new schedule was unveiled in May.

In a presentation given to parents, and posted on the school website, school officials said under the current schedule students are limited to taking 35 credits each year. Officials said many students have to take classes during zero period — a period held between 7 and 7:50 a.m.— and occasionally have to skip lunch.

The school’s intention is to allow students to have more options. The schedule is also intended to help students prepare for a college-style routine.

The schedule includes a common lunch period, where all students will be going to lunch at the same time, which some parents voiced concerns over.

At the June 5 Board of Education meeting, parents claimed that eateries were worried about being overwhelmed by a large influx of students at one time. Freshmen have to remain on campus during lunch, but all other students are allowed to leave campus to go to Ruthie’s, Hot Bagels Abroad and other nearby eateries.

In response, Superintendent Kendra Johnson said the district promised to work with local vendors.

Other parents questioned whether the block schedule would be sufficient to allow students to get a full education.

Johnson declined to comment on the new schedule on Friday, referring to the presentation posted on the school wbesite.

The American School Superintendents’ Association estimates about one in three high schools in the United States use block scheduling rather than period scheduling. The association contends many schools have switched to block scheduling due to increasingly complex graduation requirements, and concerns that a period schedule makes it difficult to accommodate electives such as fine and performing arts, as well as science labs, athletics and other activities.