4×4 schedule returns for 2022-2023 school year


Shelbie Earp starts a Virginia Beach City Public Schools School Board petition to let students have a say in new schedule changes on Jan. 8, 2022.

The stress, the workload, the crammed schedules and deadlines of the 4×4 schedule may return. If the work wasn’t hard enough already, it’s about to get harder.

On the School Counseling Course Registration Hub, the school counselors said some classes in the 2022-2023 school year may follow the 4×4 schedule.

The 4×4 schedule is very stressful. Assignments had to be done in a quarter of the amount of time a regular schedule allowed. The transition between the first semester and second semester feels like a step into the unknown, which creates a sense of “restarting the school year.” After all the effort to learn the material, forgetting topics previously would likely be the most frustrating difficulty to the 4×4, especially if one tried comprehend the course.

“I hate it. Too much work in too little time. With a regular schedule, you get more time to finish your work. Even though with the regular schedule you enroll in all your classes at once, it still gives you time to absorb the information better over the course of the year instead of a single semester,” said sophomore Will Bettis.

Certain courses may fit the 4×4 block scheduling, such as Health and Physical Education, It’s Academic, or a few other classes, but challenging courses that demand time to understand the topic, such as Magnet courses, will place unnecessary stress on students if time is not allocated properly. Last year, students received Mondays off when the 4×4 was initially established, however next year, there will likely be no Mondays off due to the crammed scheduling, which will place lots of pressure on students and teachers. Teachers like Stasia LaRoche, former World History 2 teacher, agree that traditional block scheduling allows teachers to adjust to students’ learning capabilities and the 4×4 forces them to cut out important topics from the curriculum. 

According to a review, written by the School Board, on the literature for block scheduling, it is supposed to allow students to focus on fewer subjects in greater depth in a singular school term and provide time to complete lessons and reduce fragmentation. Many of these claims are not true, as the majority of students struggled throughout the entire school year. The schedule forces new strategies of instruction for teachers, which can cause confusion and disrupt the learning environment.

In 2003, several researchers named Harmston, Pliska, Ziomek and Hackmann, compared standardized test results from students that were taught through the A/B schedule with students taught from the traditional block scheduling. When they examined the ACT data longitudinally at high schools in two states, they found that eight-period (traditional) and eight-(A/B) block schools demonstrated achievement levels that were similar to one another over time while achievement levels at the 4×4 schools declined over time. 

There may be few benefits that can possibly outweigh the difficulties of the 4×4 schedule. Those who wish to fulfill credits faster are able to take advantage of this plan by receiving two credits in one year. For example, those who are enrolled in world language classes may take two years worth of content in one year, which allows an extra year to take more credit classes. 

“It’s easier to focus on a few subjects at a time compared to having a rotation of classes,” said freshman Kai England.

However, when students rush the learning process just for the credit, it takes away the purpose of education. Students should receive time to grow and develop the material so they can apply it to advanced classes like Advanced Placement classes or future college courses.

There is even an online petition to convince the Virginia Beach Board of Education to exclude the 4×4 schedule. With the majority of the challenges that outweigh the benefits, the school district should reconsider whether the 4×4 block schedule format is best for the students’ education.