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New school schedule

AB Block Schedule

Beginning with the 2013-14 school year, Serra will move from our current Float-8 schedule to a schedule that has extended periods and meetings every other day, commonly known as the AB block. The advantages are many, and will provide time for in-depth study of issues, accommodate 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. 


Q: Why is Serra adopting this new schedule?

A: The schedule will present numerous advantages to Serra students, teachers and families. It will provide more time in the classroom with less disruption and more hands-on learning. In addition, the new schedule will support 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 will support Serra’s many athletic and co-curricular activities by providing time with the school day. It will support 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 will accommodate separate 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 start and end times of the school day are still being evaluated, and they will be published in the spring.

Q: How will the schedule impact the college-prep academic and counseling program?

A: The overall result of the schedule change will be a net increase in class time for students and reduced conflicts with non-academic activities. The schedule will also retain flexibility in academic scheduling. As is the case now, students will be required to take six classes per semester to meet Serra’s graduation requirements and the minimum UC entrance requirements. Students with six classes will 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 will the block schedule impact the co-curricular programs, such as athletics, the arts and activities?

A: The overall impact on the co-curricular programs will be positive. The arts programs will remain unaffected by the schedule change. Student-athletes who have independent study will be allowed to use our training facilities during this period, and they will still have time afterwards to meet with their counselors and ARC staff (which is not possible under the current schedule). Also, the earlier ending time for the final class period of the day will mean that student-athletes will miss less class time on early dismissal days.

Q: Will the Tri-School Program be affected?

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 will allow the three schools to share additional classes.  Tri-School courses have already been expanded for the 2013-14 school year, and further collaboration is planned.

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