The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

Malvern Adjusts to New School Schedule


Matt Lanetti, Ryan Franks

This fall, Malvern begins its adjustment to the modified block schedule that has left some students and faculty with mixed feelings.

This September, Malvern began its new modified block scheduling system.  Some students and faculty feel positive about it – others not so much.

Some features of the new schedule include non-sequential class days, mandatory study halls for 9th-11th grades and an open period for seniors, an hour-long block of community time, a shifting lunch period, counseling classes, and a different time for homeroom.

Few students and teachers have experienced a schedule where they do not have to go or teach every class each day. Classes meet five days out of the eight-day schedule. Students and teachers must also adjust to extended periods and a daily shifting lunch period.

What do community members think of the new schedule? Click to find out.
What do community members think of the new schedule? Click to find out.

According to Head of Upper School Mr. Ron Algeo, “We made the switch to block scheduling because the main survey, taken by students, showed high levels of stress when meeting with teachers eight periods a day.” 

“Block Scheduling allows student centered initiative and more time to get done class work and understand that material. It also allows for getting homework accomplished easier,” Algeo continued.

Assistant Head of School Mr. Steve Valyo described some goals the new schedule seeks to accomplish. “One of the main reasons was to reduce the frenetic pace of the day and to allow the schedule to be more student driven than teacher driven,” he said.

The schedule works, Valyo said, as “almost a pure college model. You may meet in a class Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and the responsibility is on you to get the work done Tuesday and Thursday.”

“The schedule has the ability to add more electives and classes and is more flexible,” said Valyo.  “It creates less conflicts, for example, in the past, because we have so many honors and AP classes, students couldn’t take band and honors 4 or AP Spanish because they were at the same time. Now with the eight carriers over eight days we can move things around.”

“Students had less problems getting the courses they wanted than ever,” Mr. Valyo concluded.

The following are some details about features of the new schedule.

Non-Sequential Class Days

The new schedule has eight ‘carriers’ or class openings over an eight-day rotating schedule. But longer class periods mean only a five-period day. This means that each class meets only five out of each eight-day cycle. 

Community Time

Community time is a one hour open period everyday that acts as a traditional “break”. For the first 15-30 minutes of community time, all students must report to their respective homerooms. After homeroom, students are allowed to do as they please, whether it be grab a bite to eat at Stewart Hall or finish up some homework in the Learning Commons. 

Freshman Liam McKnight says, “I like community time because it gives me an opportunity to get done some my homework. It’s also a nice break from class and I’m able to get something to eat at the cafeteria.”


The counseling course is designed to help develop Malvern Prep students into adult leaders who are thoughtful, reflective, and make wise decisions. Specific skills that counselors aim to teach include; goal setting, study skills, decision making and resistance skills. Students will also work to increase their emotional intelligence and learn about academic integrity, mental health issues and how to be more inclusive in an ever more diverse culture. Counseling takes place during one of the study hall slots.

 Mr. Mike Koenig teaches AP Physics teacher and, in his role as Scheduler, organized much of the modified block schedule model.  “Getting the study halls and counseling classes to fit were the most difficult part of creating the schedule. I had to make 94 different counseling classes and individually load them into the system,” said Koenig.

Mandatory Study Halls and Open Periods

A mandatory study hall is given to each student grades 9-11 that fits into the schedule just as the normal core classes do. A student will have a study hall five days out of the eight day cycle.

Seniors are given open periods, not study halls.

“Seniors have the opportunity to, as they did last year, come in at homeroom if they have first period open, only if they have filled out the form,” said Mr. Dougherty. “Seniors also have the ability to leave early if their last period is an open, if they have filled out the form.”

Shifting Lunch Periods

High School lunch is at either one of two times. If you have: Theology, Science, History, or English, you have lunch first 11:35-12:10. If you have Math, Language, Study Hall, Art, Health/PE, Computer Science, or Counseling your lunch is at 12:40-1:15 you have lunch third. A student’s lunch period will change throughout the eight day cycle depending on which class he has third.

Anthony Ciro from the class of 2016 enjoys the shifting lunch period, “I like the fact that we can eat at different times each day, it mixes it up a little,” said Ciro.  “It is confusing though, knowing what time you can go to lunch, but over time I will adjust.”

Sophomore Jimmy Kingsbury thinks otherwise, “I want to go back to the old schedule where we have lunch at the same time everyday. If I eat first, I find myself not that hungry, but if I eat third I can’t wait to eat because I’m starving.”

Extended Periods

With fewer periods in a day, the new schedule includes longer classes that work to eliminate wasted time between switching classes by having fewer transitions. First period is 60 minutes, second is 80 minutes, third is 100 minutes, a 65 minute class and then a 35 minute lunch, fourth period is 60 minutes, and fifth period is 55 minutes.

Students Brian Boyle, Andrew Clark, and Tommy Wolters do not like the idea of having only five classes a day as opposed to the standard seven. The sophomores stated, “We want to go back to the old schedule.” Wolters said, “With these longer classes, it’s hard to keep focused on the same subject. I tend to lose my attention after 45 minutes.”


Mr. Koenig was heavily involved in the creation of the new schedule. Malvern also worked with Independant School Management, or ISM, a school management firm that has a great deal of experience with high school schedules.

“The first thing we did was gather information that ISM wanted,” said Koenig. “They gave us several possible solutions and after that we met as a committee.”

Mr. Koenig explained how the committee’s first priority was to set absolute parameters, such as school start time and stop time, sliding lunches, and longer periods.

“We [the schedule committee] were meeting twice a week for weeks and weeks and weeks. I wrote the schedule, presented it to them, and we made edits from there,” said Koenig.

Mr. Koenig and Malvern have invested a significant amount of time in the new schedule. It may take some time for the schedule to grow on students and faculty, and for them to make the adjustment.

Click to see a PDF of the modified block schedule
Click to see a PDF of the modified block schedule


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