The daily schedule at Pope John Paul II High School is structured around a five period day and an eight-course load. The courses rotate daily throughout the week. The five period configuration features 70 minute classes, each of which meets three times a week. It has several advantages:
- In allowing students to take eight classes each year, the schedule provides for exposure to a broad core curriculum and gives students room to take additional electives in AP courses and the Arts, depending on their interests and college plans. Would be engineers, for example, can take as many as 5 or 6 Math or Science classes over their four years, whereas those inclined toward the arts can take 5 or 6 art classes.
- Eight credits each year gives kids 32 credits by graduation, compared to a more common 24 credit high school resume. “It’s like getting an extra year of high school built within the school day,” said one happy parent. “And that gives my child an advantage on ACT and SAT tests.”
- The twenty-five class meetings per week allow for a one-hour period in mid-morning on Wednesdays for Mass, two school assemblies on Monday and Friday, Advisory classes on Tuesday, and House meetings on Thursday.
- The rotating schedule ensures that students do not suffer the negative effects of meeting the same classes either early in the day or late in the day.
- The ‘five period day’ allows for class sessions of sufficient length to complete learning activities which require longer class time such as science labs, student simulations or a combination of activities in one class period.
- At the same time, the 70-minute schedule avoids the problem typical of “block” scheduling, whereby the last minutes of 90 minute classes are often wasted.