The Friday Phenomenon

The block schedule is a blessing and a curse. The freedom it allows is dragged down by the looming chaos of the Friday Schedule.

Community High, the “alternative” high school of Ann Arbor, prides itself on being different from other schools; one of its biggest differences is the unique block schedule. Longer, more spaced-out classes have long appealed to incoming freshmen, as well as people looking for a break from their standard class-to-class schedule. For the most part, the block schedule delivers what it promises. But for many students of CHS, there is still one major flaw with the block schedule: Fridays.

For years the CHS day-to-day block schedule has been the same: odd blocks on Mondays and Wednesdays, even blocks on Tuesdays and Thursdays, followed by Friday with all blocks in order. This means that on Fridays, classes are 55 minutes long. Compared to the usual 100 minutes of class, it is a lot harder to get as much done. 

“It feels like you have less time to engage with the material with how short [the classes] are,” said Parker Haymart, a CHS junior. “It feels like wasted time.”

This issue doesn’t only come up within the student body, but among teachers and staff as well. 

“I don’t have any time to actually interact with my students,” said Chloe Root, a teacher and forum leader at CHS. 

Root feels that because of the shortened classes, Fridays feel rushed and overwhelming. After school on Friday schedules, it can be hard to process all of the hectic happenings of the day especially for teachers who see up to 150 students every day. 

“At the end of the day, I feel like I’ve just been run over by a truck,” Root said.

At the end of the day, I feel like I’ve just been run over by a truck.

— Chloe Root

One possible solution is going back to the asynchronous Wednesdays of online school. Students would be able to complete assigned work from their teachers asynchronously through Schoology, negating the need to come into school at all. This has already been discussed within staff. However, the possibility of an alternate asynchronous day seems slim given state regulations regarding school hours. In the state of Michigan,1,098 hours and 180 days of school are required for each year. The question of what counts as a full school day is where the issue lies when considering asynchronous days.

“It’s not a matter of our district being inflexible, it’s just that the state has mandatory requirements for when we actually are in school,” Root said. 

The idea of a non-structured “asynchronous” schedule has been floating around recently, where there would be no specific times for classes to meet but students would still be required to come to school. The issue with this solution would be how attendance would be taken. Root believes that forum could be used to solve this problem by taking attendance in it.

Fridays have especially been problematic for students who split enroll – meaning that they attended multiple schools and need to travel between them during the school day. With the CHS schedule suddenly lining up with the other schools schedules, there doesn’t leave much room in the short passing time for transportation. This means that missing some level of class is unavoidable. Depending on which hours they have class, split enrollers can miss anywhere from 5 to 40 minutes of instruction. On Fridays, this means that in some cases they are missing the majority of class. 

“It’s annoying how I miss the last 10 minutes of class every [Friday]” said Pioneer sophomore Jake Williams, who spends his mornings at CHS before ending his day at Pioneer. Since he misses the last 10 minutes of class, he misses time where he could be getting help from his teachers or peers.

Another popular potential solution is an ABAB rotation for Fridays, which uses the current Monday and Tuesday schedules as A and B schedules that would alternate every week. This is a popular solution because of its simplicity; it wouldn’t be introducing anything new, but rather reusing a schedule that everyone is familiar with. The main issue with this solution is that it might get confusing with students and staff not knowing if it were an A or B day. This seems to be a minor issue though, compared to the major inconvenience of Fridays now. 

One thing that most CHS students and staff can agree on is the inconvenience and difficulty of the current Friday schedule. The question that’s left is how can we change it, and how soon?