Five-by-Five Schedule Gives Students More Options.
By Grace Henke, Elianna Hernandez, Steward Dunford, Ethan Richey, & Corbin Blanchard
In 2015, Snow Canyon High school switched its bell schedule from a four-by-four to a five-by-five block schedule. In other words, instead of attending 8 classes every two days (four per day), students began attending 10 classes every two days (five per day). According to Washington County School District the reasoning behind the change was to provide schools with the extra time needed to meet their students’ varied needs. Some of these varied needs include However, if the purpose of changing the schedule from four classes per day to five classes per day is to help students, why isn’t the district applying this standard to all of the secondary schools in the area? As of this year, Enterprise and Pineview are the only other schools that go by the five-by-five schedule. It seems logical that if the five-by-five schedule provides schools with a higher ability to address specific student needs, then all schools should implement that schedule. Yet, not only do merely three schools utilize the five-by-five schedule, even new schools opening in the district are shunning the five-by-five for the more traditional four-by-four.
Crimson Cliffs, the new local high school in Washington Fields will implement a four-by-four schedule. According principal Rusty Taylor, “CCHS will be on a 4×4 schedule, with 2 home-room periods a week, similar to what DHHS is doing.” When asked the reasoning of using a four-by-four schedule Taylor replied, “I felt like it’s the best use of the time we have for our classes and students.” He further explained, “I like the shorter classes offered by the 5×5 schedule, but I don’t like the added classes that are required in the 5×5 (2 extra classes a year).”
Principal Taylor highlights the two-sided nature of both the four-by-four and five-by-five schedules. For example, some of the many perks of the five-by-five schedule students at Snow Canyon High School receive include access to elective classes like photography, creative writing, and lab classes. In a four-by-four schedule the classes are longer and there are fewer options for elective classes. Since the five-by-five has shorter class periods, the likelihood of having homework is higher — teachers are required to cover the same amount of curriculum even in the shorter class periods. Rhonda Brinkerhoff, a counseling secretary expressed her opinion stating, “I actually prefer the four-by-four because kids are in class a little bit longer and personally, the longer you’re in class the less people come in here and the more I get done.” We also asked Jasmine Pulsipher, a Language Arts teacher at SCHS, about her thoughts and she explained “I get frustrated that I don’t have a lot of time in class, … I went from 84 minutes to 65 minutes, which means I had to cut out a lot of activities.” She also said that it causes her students to have more homework, but she says overall the lab classes are beneficial to those who need it “when students actually take labs for the right reasons, and they use their time in labs, It’s very, very helpful.”
Many of the perks of the five-by-five schedule also carry drawbacks. For example, classes are 17 minutes shorter, so on those days when time seems to be standing still and class feels like it’s never going to end… it actually is going to end 17 minutes sooner than it usually does. However, the trade-off is that students have to take an additional class. Each additional class increases the possibility of homework.