Terrier Block Introduces Students To New Hobbies

Mikayla Kudron, A&E Editor

On Wednesday, May 15, West Springfield High School introduced the Terrier Block program to students. This new period had a trial run during what would have been an X Block period. X Block period replaced 5th period and provided time for students to meet with teachers, make up work, or do homework. Terrier Block allows teachers to choose a fun activity to take part in with interested students. Each student is to sign up for a particular classroom and partake in the activity chosen by the teacher. These activities range from card games to Bollywood dancing. According to Mrs. Hayes, a member of the committee that introduced Terrier Block to WSHS, Terrier Block is meant to “encourage richer connections within the student body and between students and staff.”

Immediately after learning about Terrier Block, many students met the idea with criticism. Students who rely on the regular X Block time for academic purposes were upset that they would have to spend their time differently. Mrs. Hayes explained that “there are some students who are afraid that they will lose the extra academic time they had with X Block. That is something that will be taken into consideration with our future planning.”

After students experienced a trial run of Terrier Block, many were pleasantly surprised. The period allowed a lot of students to take part in new activities, some that they may carry throughout their life. “It was fun for me to experience a cooking class since we can’t take that regularly,” said sophomore Lola Casillas. Cooking classes are just one example of activities offered during Terrier Block. Mrs. Valinski’s crochet class and Mr. Svec’s instructional fishing class were also popular among students.

Although the Terrier Block was widely considered a success, some participants were upset about the organization of the period. May 15th was the day of both the first Terrier Block and the AP Language and Composition exam. That meant that a large portion of the Junior Class was unable to participate in Terrier Block. Many students were also frustrated with the sign-up method. “The sign ups got filled too fast, so I couldn’t hang out with my friends,” explained Sophomore Emma Towsley.

What most students are not aware of is that Terrier Block was planned very carefully by a team of teachers involved in Professional Learning Committees. In order to make Terrier Block as successful as possible, the committee took inspiration from East Longmeadow High School’s Spartan Block. “Spartan Block focuses on enrichment activities, much like our Terrier Block Pilot,” explained Mrs. Hayes. The committee did research on their idea, got feedback from the WSHS Department Chairs, and also observed Spartan Block and Lexington High School’s IBlock. After editing their final idea, they created a presentation to show teachers and students that clearly explained the benefits of Terrier Block and how it would run.

Some changes will be coming to Terrier Block in the following year. “Going forward we are hoping to have a Terrier Block rotate with an Academic Block,” Mrs. Hayes explained. Mrs. Hayes also expressed that “We are hoping to have more student run activities, to incorporate more academic options, increase the variety of options.” The trial Terrier Block was a learning experience and has offered some insight on how to improve the program, and students are encouraged to provide feedback on their experience with Terrier Block. Hopefully with time, Terrier Block can garner even more support from students at WSHS.