4x4 Collegiate Block
St. Ursula Academy organizes its academics according to the 4x4 collegiate block schedule, where students take four 80-minute classes each day. This type of schedule allows students to complete an entire course in one semester instead of a full academic year, and it most closely resembles a college schedule.
The advantages of block scheduling include the following:
Improved Teaching and Learning
With 80-minute classes, more class time is available to develop key concepts, incorporate creativity into instruction, and implement a variety of classroom activities that address different learning styles. Longer time blocks allow for in-depth study, such as individual student projects, peer collaboration, and one-on-one work between teachers and students, which leads to improved content retention. At the end of each semester, students only need to prepare for four exams.
Ability to Focus Attention
Students can focus on only four courses each semester, exploring each one in great depth. Teachers have only three classes to instruct in a given semester, which greatly increases the time they have to meet regularly with their students.
The 4x4 schedule allows advanced students to “double up” to move through material more rapidly. For example, students who excel in French could take sequential language classes, such as French III and French IV, in the same academic year.
More Course Offerings
Students take more courses in the 4x4 block schedule because they enroll in at least eight classes per year, instead of six or seven. The block schedule also provides students time to explore more interests in elective courses. After four years, students will study 32 courses and potentially earn 31.75 credit hours.
Stronger Interpersonal Relationships
The number of daily classes for which students and teachers must prepare is decreased, allowing students to develop the deeper interpersonal relationships that are integral to academic success. Teachers get to know students more personally, which enables them to adapt lessons to their interests. Parents appreciate this extensive personal interaction between teacher and student, as indicated by our annual Parent Satisfaction Survey. Another benefit is that students have two “fresh starts” each academic year, giving them the opportunity to meet more students.