ADJUSTING TO THE BLOCK SCHEDULE
by Amy Bourgeois-Lawrence
former director for R.L. Turner H.S. Lionettes Carrollton, Texas
More and more drill teams and directors are inevitably being faced with the
block schedule. While this is indeed a challenging adjustment, it is not an
impossible one. I have been teaching on the block schedule for five years
now. While in the beginning, I was as disgruntled as most about the new
schedule, I soon began to realize the benefits.
the greatest benefit for me as a director is the fact that I
have more uninterrupted time with my team. On the other hand,
the biggest draw back is the lack of consistency from meeting
every other day as opposed to every day for class. I feel like
my team and I worked through the problems created by block
scheduling fairly quickly and effectively. Listed below are some
of the methods we used. Hopefully, it will be helpful to you as
Organization is the key! All drill team directors are organized by
necessity. But the block schedule calls for the director to be even more "on
Hold meetings on opposing class days before or after school. When my team
was first making the adjustment, I held short ten minute meetings after
school on the days we did not have class. This allowed me to make
announcements or reminders and take care of business transactions that could
not wait. Once my team and I adjusted to the block schedule, we were able to
dispense with the extra meetings.
Arrange to have an officer planning period. Your officers can really help
you stay organized and one step ahead of the team. If your principal will
not allow a separate officer period, perhaps they will allow you to have your
officers as student assistants during my conference period on alternating
days. We really use this time for planning everything we need to have
prepared for the team next time we are scheduled to rehearse. While this
takes away some of my personal planning time, it cuts greatly on the amount
of time spent outside of school hours for both me and my officers.
Make a practice schedule that is most beneficial to you and the success of
your team. (Your students will learn to adjust.) For example, during
football season, my team practices before school on class days and after
school two or three times a week. The days are determined by our band
schedule as well. I may or may not see my team every day during the football
season. During competition season, I feel like the team needs the
consistency of rehearsing every day in order to be productive. Therefore, in
the spring semester, we practice before school on class days and after school
on non-class days. Yes, this does mean that the practice schedule changes
from week to week. As long as I give my students advance notice, there are
no scheduling problems. This brings me to my next point.........
Pass out a monthly calendar (at least 2 weeks in advance, if possible) of
all upcoming events, rehearsals, fund-raisers, due dates, etc. Post a large
version of the calendar in the locker room or bulletin board as well.
Announce your rehearsal schedule and plan for dealing with block schedule
at a meeting held before tryouts. Everyone involved, including parents, will
know what to expect.
GOOD LUCK ON YOUR NEW SCHEDULE!!!