While our school is similar to most fairfax county school in their system of “block schedules”, we differ from most schools with our addition of anchor days to our school week. Most schools will have red and blue days (referred to by different names at different schools), but their schedule is made so that every other day you have the same classes, even on mondays after a weekend. At our school, we have anchor days right after the weekend, so we have every single class on Monday.
One of the reasons block schedules are used is because they make the best use of time. On anchor days we have five transition periods where we walk to our next class, while on a regular day we only have two. That means we waste half an hour more just walking between classes. Then, the classes are only 45-50 minutes. Often these short class periods are inefficient, and many times it feels more like we showed up to class just to be assigned more homework, rather than actually having an in depth lesson. Removing anchor days and replacing them with a rotating red and blue day schedule would make better use of student’s educational time.
Having every class on one day also means having all for your homework due on one day. This means students must do homework for every single class over the weekend. Students already have enough issues and stress from homework when they have their classes every other day, making homework due for every class right after the weekend makes it even harder for student’s to have weekend time to relax, play sports, and participate in extracurriculars. Removing anchor days could slightly improve the current issue students have with an overload of homework over the weekend.
It is well known that high school students often have very heavy backpacks. Contributors to this unfortunate truth is that some classes require students to bring back and forth a textbook and others often need students to bring laptops. Of course, on top of that, almost every class needs a binder or notebook. The point is, the weight adds up. Carrying materials for every class is like carrying two backpacks, the one you would bring on a red day in addition to the one you would bring on a blue day. So for those of you wondering why these days are called anchor days, personally I think the term anchor is referencing to how heavy our bags are.
I acknowledge there are some possible issues that could arise with the removal of anchor days. There would have to be a different time for JLC and eighth periods would work slightly different. A potential way to reschedule the classes, is to have JLC during the time eighth period would normally occur on Mondays, but in that case JLC would only occur every two weeks. This may not be a perfect solution, but it shows the schedule could clearly be arranged to continue incorporating JLC and eighth periods.
While there are pros and cons to having anchor days, overall I think we need to take away the anchor and start sailing in a better direction. I think many would agree that the removal of anchor days could greatly help lighten students weekend workload, lessen backpack weights on Mondays, and foster a more efficient learning environment.