by Chiara Rissola
The new year at Greenwich High School brings not only a variety of new students but also many new changes within both the student body and staff’s day-to-day. Among these changes is the introduction of opportunity block. Opportunity block was implemented in order to give students the chance to do homework, get help from teachers, go to a club meeting, or practice sports without taking time out of already-busy schedules. This innovation, however, has been met with mixed reactions within the student population.
One junior said that they thought the opportunity block was an effective use of their time because “I can go ask teachers for extra help within school hours.” Normally, getting extra help from teachers can prove to be a difficult feat because of schedule conflicts. Coming to school early in the morning or staying late can be a challenge, especially if the student takes a bus or has any prior commitments. Opportunity block effectively eliminates this issue, creating a thirty-minute window of time in which students may get the help they need. For athletes, who cannot stay after school to meet with teachers, the block creates new opportunities for them academically.
In addition, athletes leaving early for an away-game benefit from missing less, if any, class time from the last block of the day.
However, the thirty-minute block may not be long enough to get the help the students need, especially if there are multiple students who need help on different topics. The length of the block also proves taxing in terms of the amount of time it takes to get any homework done. Most assignments take 45 minutes to about one hour, per class. As stated by sophomore, Lilly Bjerke, “There’s too little time to do homework. I can’t stay late in opportunity block either so I have to pack up and go up to the media center and get started on my homework again, which takes time. Also, we are unable to leave the room, even if we need to go to the media center to get a textbook so, even then, I am unable to do most of my work.”
Opportunity block also hits back hard on class time, cutting each class down by five minutes. This leaves less time for students to take assessments, or be taught material which can be especially constricting for AP courses. Moreover, it is possible that the block may not be treated the same way in every classroom. One junior said, “I feel like there is just going to be a point in time where teachers are going to ignore the announcements and just teach through the block.”
The chronological placement of this block throughout the day can also take its toll on students. Some people, when they get home from school, like to enjoy a snack or take a nap before starting their homework. During opportunity block, however, the cafeteria is not open. Even if it were, some teachers don’t allow food or drink in their classrooms. This extra chunk of time at the end of the day also could create a greater sense of anticipation to go home, stifling productivity. Simply put by a GHS freshman, “I just want to go home.”
Although opportunity block is meant to be effective because it is carving time out of the school day to give to students to do their homework and meet with their teachers, in the end, it comes down to how the student wants to use their time. For example, some students may choose to spend their time talking to their friends or watching television on their computers. This time can also be ineffective because of the limits that opportunity block places on the student. Sophomore Alex Bailey said, “You have a chance to do homework or chill but you can’t leave the room without a pass which sucks because if you have an impulse decision to go practice if you’re in band you can’t.”
Overall, students believe that opportunity block is an effective start to relieving the stress of copious amounts of homework with extracurricular activities and athletics. It seems that most see a potential to expands students’ chances to take part in activities and work more with teachers.
Photo by Greenwich High School