Opinion: Double Blocking Hurts Electives


Photo by Jenn Vargas permission via Flickr

The Rider staff feels athletics shouldn't be double blocked.


Mansfield ISD implemented the double block schedule this year. Instead of having eight class for 45 minutes every day, students have four classes each day on an A and B day rotating schedule. Each class meets for an hour and 30 minutes with an added 20 minute advisory period each day. Some classes require students to double block meaning that class meets every day rather than every other day. No program should require a class to be double blocked.

A double-blocked class interferes with the success of all elective programs on campus.

Because of the change, smaller electives such as advanced level art, teen leadership, debate and culinary arts struggle to maintain functional class sizes. This year, electives have between 20 and 120 fewer students than last year. While core class sizes are massive, many electives are struggling to exist – let alone grow.

A student who has a double-blocked elective has one less class on their schedule. Elective programs without roughly 15 students or less have the possibility to be cut from the school’s master schedule leading to teachers being reassigned and duties being moved in years to come. All electives need to stay at Legacy because they present creative outlets, teach skills outside the four required core classes and provide more opportunities for scholarships.

In double-blocked athletic periods, students have a study hall time during a portion of the block because of UIL practice time rules. Athletes are only allowed to practice so many hours each week whether during or after school. And with the block schedule, all students now also have an advisory period where they can do homework. Athletes have double study hall time when they could be supporting and participating in other electives.

Requiring a double block, especially for freshmen and sophomores who don’t have much room in their schedule, removes students who want to take another elective or a Ben Barber class.  Getting underclassmen involved in electives is vital for the success of the programs.

Freshmen and sophomores required to take a double blocked elective have little to no room to take a Ben Barber class as well, thus limiting their high school experience and forcing them to choose a path without experience to guide them.

By giving some classes a double block, it gives the connotation those classes are more important. If that’s true, then required core classes should be double blocked as well.

Those who support double blocking for select classes believe these electives need to meet every day in order to be successful. However, by meeting every day the double blocked class’s success severely damages the development of those classes that are not. By not requiring double block classes, MISD Administration would show equal support of all classes and allow students to learn a variety of skill sets for the future.

Juniors and seniors typically have room in their schedule for a double block to focus on that particular elective. However, requiring the extra class for underclassmen doesn’t allow the student to be involved and hurts building programs.

Any elective program should not require students to double block the class to ensure everyone can participate in more electives, keep classes from being cut and teachers from being reassigned. Not requiring students to double block certain classes allows students to explore other potential interests and broaden their high school experience while keeping established programs from fear of going extinct.