What will Brophy’s block schedule mean for students next year?


Grace Nelson/XPress Picture

Brophy and Xavier students walk down Winsor Way to their off-campus classes. Winsor Way was named after Xavier’s Sister Lynn Winsor and has served as a path for students to travel between the Xavier and Brophy campuses.

Since the news of the coming shift to a block schedule at Brophy next year, anticipation has heightened, especially among the Xavier community. Many are unsure of the impact this will have on Xavier students and staff. 

The block schedule involves 80-minute blocks, or class periods, meaning Brophy students will attend only 3-4 classes each day. 

Many members of the Xavier community caught wind of this towards the end of first semester, during which Brophy conducted a 4-day trial block schedule. The purpose of this trial was to allow students and teachers to experience first-hand what day-to-day life at Brophy might look like next year. Brophy plans on hosting another “Mock Block” in April. 

Following the first trial that took place before winter break, Brophy received a variety of feedback from the BCP community. 

The response was mixed, with some students who preferred the block schedule and some who thought the class periods were too long. Similarly, Brophy received varied teacher feedback, as many teachers found the block schedule extremely helpful, while others had trouble adjusting. 

Brophy junior Will Johnson said the trial run went smoothly, and while he thinks elements of the block schedule could enrich learning, he also admits “not having the late start on Wednesdays was a big downside. I also feel like there was pressure to give more work from the teachers during the class period.” 

Similar feedback was not uncommon, as many students feel some teachers did not use the longer time as it was intended, instead assigning more busy-work and conducting longer lectures. 

So what benefits will the block schedule bring? For Brophy, the longer class periods and slower pace that come with it “better align with the kind of teaching and learning that we’re advocating for,” said Brophy principal, Bob Ryan

Longer class periods precipitate a classroom environment that involves more variety. It allows teachers to formulate lesson plans that involve not only lecturing or in-class work, but also discussion, hands-on activities and investigation. This promotes critical thinking and investigation, as well as the overall deeper understanding of class topics and themes. 

The Brophy block schedule involves the addition of a “community period,” which will occur typically on the third or fourth day of the week. It is a block without classes during which Masses and assemblies can take place so they do not cause disruption to the flow of the week’s schedule. This community period, when not being used for Mass or an assembly, will also create time for intramurals, office hours, club meetings and other activities that may have otherwise been disruptive of a student’s lunch or classes. 

Despite the anticipated benefits to come with the block schedule, uncertainty lingers among the Xavier and Brophy community. Without a parallel schedule, Xavier and Brophy exchange will not take place next school year. 

This is a cause for concern not only for students, but for the Xavier and Brophy communities as a whole, who fear the decline of the relationship between Xavier and Brophy. 

To this Ryan responds, “We greatly value and appreciate the relationship we have with Xavier, so this decision was not an easy one and not one we took lightly.” 

Brophy and Xavier plan to continue to uphold their relationship, despite the discontinuation of shared classes. 

Ryan assures Brophy students that the upcoming block schedule will not preclude them from continuing in their study of courses they currently take at Xavier, and Xavier’s President, Sister Joan Fitzgerald, confirms that all classes that are part of the Xavier and Brophy exchange will continue to be available on Xavier’s campus in the years to come. 

The longer class periods associated with a block schedule are likely to promote a more extensive understanding of class topics, as the additional time allows for further investigation, application and discussion. 

However, without the strategic use of this extra time, it is also very possible for the block schedule to have unfavorable effects, as some teachers fill this time with excess work or longer lectures that can detract from a student’s learning. All things considered, the efficacy of the block schedule will depend on the students and teachers at Brophy.

The implementation of the block schedule at Brophy will undoubtedly impact the Xavier community, but the extent of these impacts is unknown. However, the future of the Xavier community remains optimistic.