AB Block Schedule
Starting with the 2013-2014 school year, Serra adopted a schedule with 80-minute classes which meet every other day, commonly known as the AB block. This schedule provides time for in-depth study of issues, accommodates time for extracurricular activities, facilitate expanded Tri-School class opportunities, and provide time for both teacher collaboration and professional development. In addition, studies indicate that a block schedule can help to reduce student stress. Both teacher and student surveys conducted following the first year of implementation support these predictions.
The most commonly used schedules appear below. When other schedules are used they can be found on the School Calendar page of the website, which also lists the schedules for each day of the school year.
B-Student Late Start
B-Min Day (no lunch)
3A (Lower Division)
3B (Upper Division):
6A (Lower Division):
6B (Upper Division):
6A (Lower Division):
6B (Upper Division):
6th (6A + 6B meet at the same time, no lunch period)
* Zero period meets Monday-Thursday** Homeroom only meets on the final B-day of the week
Q: Why did Serra adopt this new schedule?
A: The schedule presents numerous advantages to Serra students, teachers and families. It will provides more time in the classroom with less disruption and more hands-on learning. In addition, the new schedule supports ongoing teaching collaboration and professional development. The modern school needs to provide time for teachers to continually update and improve their curriculum. The schedule also supports Serra’s many athletic and co-curricular activities by providing time with the school day. It supports our Tri-School programs with Mercy and Notre Dame by allowing all three schools to expand their Tri-School offerings. Studies also indicate that a block schedule helps to reduce students’ stress levels.
Q: What are the key features of the new schedule?
A: The schedule is commonly referred to as an “alternating block.” Periods will extend to 80 minutes in length and will meet every other day. For example, periods 1-2-3-4 will meet one day. Periods 5-6-7 and an “activity period” will meet the following day. Passing periods will be 10 minutes in length. The schedule also accommodates separates lunch periods for upper and lower division students. The activity period can be used for a variety of school needs, including liturgies, assemblies, class meetings, office hours and early dismissals. The period can be moved throughout the day, depending on the needs of the school. The first period of the day begins at 7:55 and the last class of the day ends at 2:30.
Q: How does the schedule impact the college-prep academic and counseling program?
A: The overall result of the schedule change is a net increase in class time for students and reduced conflicts with non-academic activities. Office Hours are scheduled into the Morning Activity time, approximately eight to ten times per semester. Students should use this time to meet with their teachers for academic help. The schedule also retains flexibility in academic scheduling. Students are required to take a minimum of six classes per semester to meet Serra’s graduation requirements and the minimum UC entrance requirements. Students with six classes also have an independent study period. Students may also choose to take a seventh class in place of the independent study period. The schedule will enhance the ability of students to take a seventh class by reducing existing conflicts with athletic schedules. Access to the school’s counselors will be increased due to the new schedule.
Q: How does the block schedule impact the co-curricular programs, such as athletics, the arts and activities?
A: The overall impact on the co-curricular programs has been positive. The arts programs have been unaffected by the schedule change. Student-athletes who have independent study are allowed to use our training facilities during this period, and they still have time afterwards to meet with their counselors and ARC staff. Also, the earlier ending time for the final class period of the day has meant that student-athletes miss less class time on early dismissal days.
Q: What is the impact on the Tri-School Program?
A: The Tri-School Program will be a primary beneficiary of the new schedule. Notre Dame and Mercy currently use an alternating block schedule. Serra’s adoption of a similar schedule has allowed the three schools to share additional classes. As a result, Tri-School class offerings have expanded and it is anticipated that this will continue in the near future.