Fifth block schedule isn’t ideal

The 5th block schedule is a hassle for everyone and can be improved.


Lizzie Mboowa

Wind ensemble practice on Dec.8.

Mark Ball '26, Contributor

How would you feel if you invited 10 friends to a party and only 6 of them showed up? 

That is what Mr. Nick Pignataro, the high school orchestra and band teacher, experiences every day during his 5th block string and band ensembles. 

According to Pignataro, these absences are almost never the fault of the students. The issue is the current fifth block schedule, which forces students to choose between extracurricular activities, as well as academics. 

“Clubs can save kids’ lives because they form a community, especially if kids are fighting a lot of issues at home or are suffering from illness. There’s something wonderful about clubs, and I hate to say, ‘Well, you’re in orchestra, so you can’t join that club,’” Pignataro said.  

When students miss rehearsals, they can come to make up lessons. However, this does not make up for the time they missed. 

“Even the greatest musicians in the world still rehearse, even though they know the music. They do that because you have to learn to sync up with the other people,” Pignataro said. 

This problem could be solved by shortening all blocks slightly to incorporate music into the school day. There could also be a rule limiting the number of clubs students can join. 

“I know that music is not a keystone class. I get that. But to me, music is just as important as any other class in this school and to some of the students. So it’s really difficult when everything happens during that class time,” Pignataro said. 

Freshman Josie Wieland  is involved in Symphonic Band, Jazz Band, Speech and Debate, GSA Club, and Ultimate Frisbee, among other activities. She cannot participate in every extracurricular activity with full commitment. 

“I have GSA and Speech and Debate on Mondays but I normally go to GSA since I also go to Speech and Debate on Fridays,” Wieland said.

Assistant Principal Andrea LaPira has not been to a meeting where 5th block is directly discussed. She thinks the schedule can be improved by collective understanding. 

“Mr. Pigantaro has one perspective because his schedule is so busy. But another teacher might have a different view,” LaPira said. *