4×4 schedule to remain for foreseeable future

The+student+survey+on+the+4x4+schedule+revealed+many%0Asee+it+as+positively+affecting+their+academic+success.

Graphic provided by Nate Simon '99

The student survey on the 4×4 schedule revealed many see it as positively affecting their academic success.

Grayson Salomon '22

Riordan has experienced many changes over the past four years: the Frosh Olympics format, from an all-boys school to coed, and the year long closure of on-campus learning as COVID-19 took the world by storm.

Another aspect students and teachers definitely experienced since 2018 has been the change of schedules from the Block to the 4×4, and get ready, as a new one might be implemented as soon as the 2023-2024 school year.

Assistant Principal of Academics Nate Simon ’99 described why Riordan switched over to the 4×4 from the block schedule in the first place last year.

“We were ready to change to a schedule called the rotating 8 right before the pandemic. Then when the pandemic hit, we decided to change to the 4×4 because it allowed us to have more face to face time with our students in a hybrid setting. Last year, when we were in hybrid, students were able to see each of their teachers two days a week, even though we didn’t have any in-person classes on Fridays.”

He added, “Most schools in the Bay Area were only able to have students see each of their teachers once a week or in some cases, less. The 4×4 was the reason we could do that. We decided to stick with it this year in case we had to revert back to hybrid at some point,” stated Simon.

But, as complaints against the new schedule rose, the school administration and a schedule committee started to look into possible new schedules.

The biggest criticisms were the gap that exists between consecutive courses such as AP classes that are offered in the fall semester. Students might have three months in between from when they took the class and when they take the AP test. Also, some special programs like the band, RSP and Journalism that benefit from having class all year, have a hard time doing that in the 4×4. Finally, there is the fact that yearlong classes are rushed and cramped into one semester.

“we decided to change to the 4×4 because it allowed us to have more face to face time with our students in a hybrid setting. Last year, when we were in hybrid, students were able to see each of their teachers two days a week, even though we didn’t have any in-person classes on Fridays.””

— Nate Simon '99, Assistant Principal of Academics

Marcella Fabre ’23, who is enrolled in AP English Language this semester, shared her concerns.

“I think this schedule is comfortable with most students, and the only main concern that I have is taking 1st semester AP classes, and their AP tests at the end of the year. To focus on one set of classes for a whole semester, and then change classes entirely, makes it especially difficult for those taking AP exams by the end of the year. It is challenging enough to learn AP material, but then be tested on it, after forgetting class content is daunting,” stated Fabre.

As for actual schedule changes, teachers on the Schedule Committee have visited other schools to observe how students do with their classes. Riordan is looking into several options including the Trimester and a rotating 8 period schedule. They are looking at ways to tweak the schedule to mitigate some of the issues that come up because of the gap in consecutive classes.

However, some students seem to enjoy the 4×4 schedule. Jacob Kleppin ’23, who has experienced both the block schedule and the 4×4, said, “I like the 4×4 schedule the most because it’s easier to manage the classes I have. Whether students like the 4×4 or not, they will be stuck with it for another year.

Simon said, “There won’t be a new schedule next year. We are reviewing our current schedule to ensure that we want to stay on it. If we make a change, it would be the following year because we would need the time to research, survey and build the schedule to best support our students and community.”