AISD Proposes a New Block Schedule for the next school year


Dylan Ebs

AISD Superintendent present proposal to change scheduling for 2022-23 school year.

Arushi Sharma and Corinne Piorkowski

A choice sheet. 

A list of possible classes from Algebra 2 to the Introduction to Journalism. 

A chance to broaden the high school learning experience and fall in love with a career path or class. One that can determine the adventures that an individual may go through throughout high school.  

The eight-period block schedule allows for 32 credits over a four-year period for students to choose from and take. With budget cuts looming, Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde has proposed a change to the current bell schedule for the 2022-23 school year and beyond.

The proposed plan would change the current eight-period block schedule to a seven-period one, where instead of switching off of A and B days, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays would be seven periods, each 54 minutes long. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, there would be an A and B day, Wednesday with three periods, 98 minutes each with an early release to give teachers an hour for planning, and Thursday with four periods, 98 minutes each.

“My initial reaction was that the schedule would not work at all for special programs such as CTE, ACC classes, ON RAMPS, etc due to the uneven M/W and T/Th schedule,” parent and teacher Ginger Davis Jarosek said. “Then I realized that it would also reduce the number of elective classes a student could take.” 

While the Board of Trustees will vote on calendar changes at their December board meeting, the decision to alter the daily schedules lies directly with Elizalde and her immediate staff, according to members of the Board. Superintendent Elizalde ultimately has the power to decide on the block schedule change without the consent of the board of trustees, according to multiple AISD Board members, including District 5 trustee Lynn Boswell.

“This is an administrative decision, not a board vote since it deals with the day-to-day operation of schools, so any feedback that needs to be shared should go to Superintendent Stephanie S. Elizalde who will be making the decision with her team and to the AISD board who can voice their opinions on behalf of the community in ways that are informed by the experience of students, families, and educators,” trustee Boswell said in a post to the Facebook group. “We will be voting on some calendar amendments at our next meeting, but as Dr. Elizalde explained last night, that’s independent of any decision she will make about daily schedules on campus.”

The news spread about the proposed changes to the block schedule, sparked conversations about how this change would impact students and their experience in high school.

“When I learned about this news, I immediately didn’t like what I was hearing,” senior Susan Leifker said. “Not only does this give teachers no time to plan, but it also makes us as students not be able to take as many electives.”

Because of the adjustment to the schedule, off periods, which are offered to students during their junior and senior year, won’t be allowed for any student. Since there would only be 45-minute classes or three or four classes each day, having a period without a class isn’t possible. 

“Right now, as a senior, my first-semester off-period has been very essential to my schedule,” Leifker said. “I’m currently working on doing college applications, scholarship applications, and balancing my AP classes, so having this period decreases how much I have to do when I get home.”

For teachers, the proposed new block schedule poses many threats to both their well-being and their students. English teacher Matt Flickinger believes elective choices are extremely important for the futures of his students and that this block schedule may take it away.

“My concern for students is the lack of available options for electives because if you eliminate an entire class period, you’re definitely not eliminating core class periods,” Flickinger said. “That seems like a big oversight on the part of the district in terms of creating a good experience for students anticipating real-world participation and success.”

While AISD hasn’t come out with an official number for how many teachers would be impacted by the change in terms of employment, the savings are estimated to be at about $21 million because fewer teachers are needed if fewer periods are taught, meaning that they would have fewer teachers to pay, and some would not be retained.

“The plan is getting so much backlash because it is not a student-centered decision,” Jarosek said. “It is all about saving money and this will not help teachers or students; it will kill many special programs that AISD has to offer, and it will reduce numbers in athletics and fine arts.”

Since the decision will not be completely final until at least January, principal Mark Robinson assures that any change in schedule will reflect the students’ and teachers’ best interests.

“Whatever decision is made, we are going to figure it out for Bowie and we’re going to do the best we can,” Robinson said.