I just learned of this Block Scheduling situation and many Dunwoody parents want it changed. If you know about this, please post your opinions both pro & con.
On Monday, November 16th at 6 PM, the Dunwoody High School PTSO and School Council are hosting an informational meeting about various school day scheduling options for the 2010-2011 school year. This meeting will be held in the cafeteria. Our speaker will be Ms. Stacey Stepney, DCSS Director of High Schools. We invite all DHS stakeholders, including future parents and community members to attend.
Wikipedia - Block Scheduling
Block scheduling is a type of academic scheduling in which each student has fewer classes per day for a longer period of time. This is intended to result in more time for teaching due to less class switching and preparation. It also allows for a student to take four electives, rather than two, or three.
In some cases, such as in medical school or other intensive university program, a block schedule means taking one class at a time, all day, every day, until all of the material is covered. A normal university course might then be completed in three or four weeks of focused effort on a single topic. When used as a supplement to a normal academic term, instead of the normal schedule, this approach is sometimes called a mini-mester.
Conversion to block scheduling became a widespread trend in American middle schools and high schools in the 1990s, but around the late 2000s, the scheduling is switching back period scheduling. Prior to that, many schools scheduled classes such that a student saw every one of their teachers each day. Classes were approximately 40-60 minutes long, but under block scheduling, they became approximately 90 minutes long.
However, many American high schools still use the traditional eight- or nine-period day, and consider block scheduling to be one of many ill-considered education reform schemes.
Part of the motivation for block scheduling is to prepare students for taking end-of-grade/end-of-course standardized tests used to measure student achievement (and in some school districts, teacher pay and school funding). Another is social--to foster cooperation among students. This is done by having students work in groups (called "cooperative learning") to help them learn from each other, rather than have classes that focus on teacher-delivered content, as some experts believe that students learn better from peers than from professionals.
There is other research out there but most I see is negative.