Block Scheduling Proposal May Modify GCC Calendar

Michael J. Arvizu
El Vaquero Staff Writer

Aproposal for block scheduling would once again change the school calendar. Under the proposal, the two five-week summer sessions would be replaced by a seven-week session. The winter session would also be seven weeks.

The school calendar was compressed to allow classes to begin shortly after Labor Day and end before Christmas, whereas earlier, classes started in August and ended in early December. This start date allows classes to begin at the same time as the K-12 schools.

“Starting school early pushed students away,” said Dean of Admissions and Records Sharon Combs in a 2001 article in El Vaquero. “…The dates run more concurrent with high schools and give more vacation time for the students.”

As it stands, the current calendar model of 16-6-16-5-5, allows for a 16-week fall semester that ends shortly before Christmas, a six-week winter inter-session that begins shortly after New Year (though the winter inter-session is five weeks, some departments hold classes for the full six weeks), a 16-week spring semester and two five-week summer sessions.

According to White, the six-week winter inter-session can be five or six weeks. White says that while some divisions teach courses within the five-week span, some have found that it is not possible to hold classes in a five week period, such as classroom lab classes, and have opted to teach six weeks instead. With a six-week class, there would be no time off between the end of the winter session and the beginning of the spring semester.

During the summer inter-session, a one week gap exists between the end of the second session and the beginning of the fall semester. However, this will not be true in 2004 when Labor Day falls on Sept. 6. Classes will have to begin Aug. 30.

According to White, the latter and the former pose problems for the college because if certain programs are not able to take a week’s hiatus, grades may not be processed in time, consequently hindering perquisite registration for students.

“If you want to go from onemath course to the next math course and the computer does not have your grading, you can’t get registered,” said White.

“They’re just going to have to have a break in the sequence,” said political science professor Mona Field.
Additionally, since the campus operates year-around, there will be no time for maintenance and construction, adds White.

“This is a real serious problem,” said White. “In many of our administrative offices, our classified workers are going non-stop. There’s no time to review their activities. The semesters are overlapping, and there is an enormous amount of stress and difficulty on campus.”

White’s proposed model, combined with block scheduling, would follow a 16-7-16-7 pattern. That is a 16-week fall semester, a seven-week winter inter-session, a 16-week spring ‘