Seniors Help Secure Block Schedule

Vikesh Dheeriya, Reporter

Through public board meetings over Zoom and carefully worded emails, a group of four seniors helped to convince the Board of Education to keep block schedule in online school. 

In early July, seniors Kapil Dheeriya, Daniel Belzburg, Chiby Onyeador, and Kai Mohl were concerned about what the District was planning to do with schools re-opening, if at all. 

“I found that the District was working overtime with ten different committees and subcommittees to determine the best, safest, course of action for students to return in August. Yet there was minimal student input [on issues] that directly concerned the health of students,” Dheeriya said. 

The disparity between the students and District grew, as the District implemented a standardized non-block schedule at PVHS for the school year. The board’s main goal was to allow for high school students “to take the same classes they would be able to take in a normal year.” 

President of the PVPUSD Board of Education Suzanne Seymour said, “We needed to make sure the [distance learning] students have the same opportunities as the hybrid students.” 

Although the District had good intentions, the unintended consequences on students and teachers would cause more unwanted adjustments during an unprecedented school year. 

“I was shocked that despite the already high stresses caused by the pandemic, the district would choose to take away [PVHS students’] beloved block schedule,’’ Belzburg said. 

Block schedule is one of many unique aspects that sets PVHS apart from other schools. Removing such an integral part of the students’ learning experience would force students and teachers to make a very difficult adjustment towards shorter and more classes per day. 

Dheeriya, Belzburg, Onyeador, and Mohl decided the best way to amplify their opinions on the importance of block schedule and student input in making important decisions would be at the Aug. 5 Board meeting. 

“We were hearing their messages at the same time we were trying to put together the puzzle of what classes can be offered where,” said Seymour. “As time went on, it just made more sense that we would be able to accommodate a more traditional block schedule.” 

President Seymour personally reached out to a broader range of students to receive different perspectives on the schedule change. This, combined with the group of seniors strongly advocating for change, along with teachers for classes working out at the different schools, caused a revert at PVHS back to the block schedule. 

During an unpredictable pandemic, it is expected that miscommunication between students and the district would happen. 

To prevent mistakes like these in the future, a student committee consisting of students from all over the district was formed. 

“I hope that our input from a wider [student] audience will extend past COVID,” said Seymour.