The votes are in: teachers say no to block schedule

Van Nuys High School will not be adopting a block schedule and will stay with the six-period schedule for the 2023-24 school year.



Many Van Nuys High School teachers and administrators voted against adopting a block schedule for 2023-24 school year, and won.

At the PD meeting on Tuesday, March 28, teachers and administration voted to keep the current schedule as opposed to adopting a block school for the 2023-24 school year. 

The block schedule would have consisted of eight periods, with four periods per day. Each period would be 85 minutes long, allowing for more instructional time. The potential change was proposed as a result of LAUSD’s new graduation policy, requiring two classes typically taught online to be taught in person. Both of these classes are one semester long.

Health class, which is normally taken freshman year over the online program Edgenuity, is now required to be taken in person as its own period. 

“Health class is about you, helping the student make healthy choices. You learn about your body, you learn about nutrition, all the important things,” said Principal DeSantiago. 

The second class being required is ethnic studies. According to Assembly Bill 101, starting with the graduating class of 2029-30, at least one semester of an ethnic studies class will be a graduation requirement. However, classes are required to be offered beginning with the 2025-26 school year. 

“Ethnic Studies class falls under the requirement of social studies. It’s a brand new thing, with a lot of people working on the course. We signed up to, perhaps, get it as an AP option, which I am excited about, but it is a requirement,” said Principal DeSantiago. 

With the addition of two extra courses, each taken in one semester, instead of freshmen having one period open for electives, now they will have none. Current ninth-grade students have to take one math, English, science, foreign language, and PE course, leaving the sixth period open for an elective. With the additional graduation requirement, there would be no room for an elective. 

Theater teacher Mr. Justin Bladridge feels the new requirements are going to hurt the flagship programs of Van Nuys. 

“I am incredibly upset and frustrated with the outcome. I am definitely worried about the future of not only my program but the arts program and elective programs on campus,” said Mr. Bladridge. 

Principal DeSantiago presented a presentation to all teachers and administrators on the scheduling conflicts and when asked to comment on how she felt about students not being able to take elective classes their first year, she shared how she wants the best for her students. 

“I am going to try everything in my power to make it work, but there are no guarantees. There are only six periods, and if I have to insert another one something is going to change.” 

Principal DeSantiago assures that she will work closely with counselors and administrators to see if a schedule that not only benefits the students but meets all district standards is possible.

“Let’s keep Van Nuys High School the way it is. We have a lot of students and if we have something that students enjoy doing, why should they wait till later on to do it,” said Principal DeSantiago.