St. Gregory has proudly had a block schedule (4 blocks a day, 75 minute blocks) for seven years, and it is my belief that block scheduling is nearly a necessity for 21st century learning. I have written about this before here on the blog, and it is something I believe passionately: for students to have the time to experiment, pursue their passions, collaborate, and study topics in depth, a block schedule makes a huge difference.
One of our fine “sister schools” here in Arizona is Phoenix Country Day School, which is taking the plunge for next year to convert to a block schedule, and we at St. Gregory are having the good fortune of welcoming a series of visiting teams of faculty members from PCDS, who are observing our classes in session to take note of how we effectively use the longer blocks. The following is a guest post from a PCDS teacher, Kelly Butler, who visited last week, offering her observations of our school in action. My thanks go to Ms. Butler for writing this fine observation.
Overall, my experience at St. Gregory was enjoyable and a definitely worthwhile. I left feeling confident about our transition into the block schedule next year and also walked away with some valuable insights. It was apparent that your teachers are able to challenge their students, diversify instruction, and most importantly develop critical thinkers within the block. Also, it made it abundantly clear to me that the block enables good teachers to truly shine and supports placing student needs first.