Why is BHS Switching to a Trimester Schedule?
The switch from a Block schedule to a Trimester schedule was announced last year, but why is it happening?
Starting the 23-24 school year, BHS will be switching from a block schedule with four 80-minute blocks a day over four quarters, to a “5×3” schedule with five 60-minute class periods each day over three trimesters.
The school has been on a block schedule since 1996. This switch is a big change for everyone, students and administrators alike. Many people have already made up their minds about the new schedule.
“I think it’s pretty stupid because it gives us less academic opportunities,” says CiCi Roder ‘25. “Next year we’ll get one less class than we do now and we won’t be able to double up on classes in the same category, like Chemistry and Biology. I believe having fewer classes will increase the workload for individual classes.”
Most students don’t know why the switch is happening. According to Anita Underberg, the Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent and the Board of Education, the switch is happening to preserve as much student choice as possible while saving money on staffing.
“There are a couple of different reasons we are switching to trimesters,” says Underberg. “Students get more opportunities because there are more classes each term. With the teacher shortage, we won’t need as many teachers. It will only be taking one block away overall. We also did it because running trimesters isn’t as much money as quarters.”
Principle Mark Mischke provided a further explanation of the reasoning behind the change.
“I’ll give you the three reasons,” says Mischke. “The first one is class size. With a five-period day, a teacher would teach 80% of the day, which on average gives us approximately half a dozen more teachers every block. The second one is interventions, in a block schedule, it’s tricky to pull a kid out to get help. In a trimester, extending class time allows us to add some more interventions, without students falling behind quite as far. The third one is choice. The beauty of the block is choice, you get a chance to pick where you’re at 16 different times. We wanted to stay as close as possible. We went with the 5×3 because it gives students 15 options.”
Many students are still worried about doubling up in classes or getting enough credits to do PSEO, or Post Secondary Education Option.
“You’d still be able to use the PSEO option,” says Mischke. “We’ve studied multiple schools in the area, like Roseville and St. Michael Albertville, who are doing the 5×3. We’ve explored some of those things to see what kind of barriers it would unintentionally create, like with PSEO, and I don’t see that happening. With doubling up, some departments are creating some potential abbreviated courses, a one-term long class. So, if a kid wants to accelerate, they might be able to take it in one term.”
With some questions answered, Sophie Begin ’25 feels better about the reasoning behind the switch and sees more of the positives. “I’m still worried about how many classes there are going to be, and if they’re going to cut some classes. But, I see why they did it, and I’m excited to have more classes in a day.”