Celebrezze and students talk training and accommodating for modified block

After the unanimous approval for new modified block schedule by the Wenatchee School Board on Dec. 10, the next thing on Principal Bob Celebrezze’s list is training teachers for using the additional 20 minutes of class time efficiently.

“I don’t like the word ‘training,’” Celebrezze said. “We have exceptional, top-quality teachers. We just have to provide them with more tools and different ways to help them with designing and implementing new lessons.”

With the early approval of the schedule by the school board, it is unknown when these trainings will start. The challenges of moving from a 53-minute class period to an 85- minute will look very different depending on the class and the subject taught, according to Celebrezze.

“It’s hard to foresee the bumps [of a new schedule]. Regardless of a schedule change, there are lots of bumps in high school education,” he said.

Celebrezze also predicts the trainings will not come with any additional costs.

Many students are unsure as to how the new modified block schedule will affect them and what challenges will be faced. “Some things are good about it, and some things are setbacks. Some of the science classes will benefit from it, especially with the labs,” junior Devyn Blakney said. “Longer class periods will help with questioning times. I definitely ask a lot of questions. But sitting in math for 85 minutes a day, [and the schedule] shortens break to twelve minutes or eighteen minutes. I’m wondering how a nutrition break is beneficial if Celebrezze himself said it takes about 15 minutes to get through the lunch line.”

Junior Cierra Wright remains neutral about the schedule. “I’m not really in favor of it until I can experience it myself… I’m not really sure how it’s going to go,” Wright said. “I have a really short attention span and the fact that I’m going to be in math for so long is concerning to me. Also, if you miss a day of school your workload would be more in those classes, and I feel like you would miss more time.”

Students in the Running Start program will also run into problems with the new modified block schedule. “The block schedule doesn’t give you much time to get between the college and the high school especially if your classes are close together. I’ll have to sacrifice my time to make it work, but even though it’ll make it a little more difficult to schedule more running start and high school classes, the college sort of has a block schedule, and it is much easier,” junior Spencer Dascenzo said.

Despite student and teacher concerns surrounding AP classes and extended class periods, Celebrezze remains optimistic. “There’s lots of pressure right now on teachers, and I think that’s ridiculously sad,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of pressure on students, too, but the new block schedule is not a big change; (it) simply provides for extended time for deeper content and additional opportunity for students to be engaged.”