Parts of Bulldog Block to Continue Next Year


Bulldog Block, a new period introduced this year between 2nd and 3rd hour, will continue in some form next year, though the plans are still in the works and will be determined over the summer by the school improvement team. Bulldog Block is unlikely to continue on a daily basis the way it did this year.

“Going into next year, I would say I don’t envision Bulldog Block being four days a week, but I definitely could see it being every other week or once a month,” Principal Michael Kapolka said. “ I think that there’s been more benefit than there has been a detriment to having that place in our schedule, so we will have some form of that built into a student’s schedule moving forward.”

Before school was released in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the high school planned to add a Portrait of a Graduate (POG) hour to the schedule, as the school improvement team started discussing it a year and a half ago.

“We used to have Seminar back in the day, so the idea of having a home room for students on a daily basis to get additional support is not new,” Kapolka said. “We were looking at the schedule thinking about how we could put [an hour in the day that wasn’t an academic class] that would be a landing place for students to work on projects like the #WhyYouMatter campaign or hold class or club meetings without taking time out of class.”

Once school resumed in-person, Kapolka said Bulldog Block fit right into the schedule, and “the way it was planned was kind of how it turned out.”

“It started during school improvement, and then when we found ourselves in pandemic learning, we thought that that would be of value for students to try to have some form of an opportunity for some additional connection with staff,” Kapolka said.

With so many different schedules this year, Bulldog Block provided a time for students to step back and refocus. 

“The idea of Bulldog Block was to try to have something embedded into a student’s day so they could have that decompression, even for 20-30 minutes, and interact with the teachers and get additional support but also [focus on] the social emotional learning,” Kapolka said. “We wanted to have a connection with a staff member throughout the entire year with a group of students.”

Bulldog Block also provided students with time to spend on what they wanted to do.

“We wanted to have a place that wasn’t taking time out of the academic day for kids, and we wanted to give flexibility,” Kapolka said. 

Many students have enjoyed Bulldog Block and the opportunity to have a break in the day or get homework done at school.

“I like Bulldog Block because I read a lot during Bulldog Block and get to do my homework,” Freshman Lindsay Favre said. “It gives me an opportunity if I forgot about homework the night before and have classes that are coming up, to do it then, though that’s only a last resort.” 

Along with providing time for homework, students have also enjoyed the fact that Bulldog Block is a part of the school day with less pressure, stress or structure. Many find Bulldog Block useful for pursuits such as extracurricular activities and connecting with teachers and classmates in a year of isolation. 

“Just from my passing conversations with students, what they like about Bulldog Block is the fact that it isn’t class and it isn’t a structured part of their day other than it gives them a chance to come in and connect with a teacher and get caught up on work,” Kapolka said. 

Some students, however, wished their Bulldog Block was a little more social.

“What I don’t like about Bulldog Block is that it’s kind of quiet, and I feel like the teacher just stares us down,” Favre said. “I would like a more social aspect of Bulldog Block.”

Another idea students have is to put Bulldog Block later in the day. Freshman Emily Gagnon supports this because she has more of her academic classes with homework after Bulldog Block. Students also think that Bulldog Block could become more like a homeroom.

“I think that it gives a homeroom vibe, [ and a place to start off and find out] what’s happening each week,” Gagnon said. I feel like it should also be the period where the announcements for the day are instead of fourth hour.”

Over the summer, the school improvement team is going to survey students and staff about what they liked and didn’t like and what could improve. Though there are improvements that can be made, Bulldog Block has generally been a “useful period” for students.

“You can’t measure it, but you can feel that Bulldog Block has caused a little bit less stress in the building,” Kapolka said. “It is a time when students know that they can step away, even for a short period of time on a daily basis, from their academic class load.”