2016-2017 Five Block Schedule FAQ

Based upon feedback from a variety of stakeholders and data results, an analysis of the current 4 x 4 block schedule was conducted (e.g. four courses per semester). This detailed work took place from 2013 through 2015. A committee comprised of administrators, teachers and students worked with a nationally renowned scheduling consultant (Dr. Michael Rettig). Dr. Rettig facilitated a detailed analysis of our current schedule-based upon key tenets-and provided key recommendations for the team. Planning has taken place in order to prepare for the implementation of our new Five Block schedule beginning next year (2016-17).

What are the goals for the schedule change?

There are three main goals of this schedule:

  • Maintain the integrity of a block schedule in terms of instructional best practices (e.g., inquiry based approach, 21st Century Skills, differentiated instruction & student engagement)
  • Increase flexibility and choice in the schedule for our students
  • Revise whole school remediation/enrichment time (Bonus Block)

What is the new Bell schedule?




Block 1

64 Mins


Block 2

64 Mins


Block 3

64 Mins



30 Mins


Block 4

99 Mins











Block 5

64 Mins


What will be the new graduation requirements? What are the Graduation Requirements per graduating class?

How will this change impact flexibility and choice for my child?

With the additional block/course (5), students will now be able to enroll in a variety of course offerings from all departments. The graphic above denotes the amount of electives our students can complete in their four years. Please refer to the 2016-17 PWHS Course Catalog for additional information per course and to preview the NEW courses offered per department. Access the 2016-17 Course Catalog here.

How will this impact Music? How will this impact the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) schedule?

The Music programs (Orchestra, Choir and Band) will continue to rotate every other day during block 2 (on Blue Days), and we will also offer a variety of Music related courses. AVID classes will continue to rotate every other day following the Red Day schedule.

How will this schedule impact Central Montgomery Technical High School students?

Central Montgomery Technical High School (CMTHS) students will attend Plymouth Whitemarsh High School during Blocks 1, 2, 3 and Bonus Block. Students will attend CMTHS from 11:30-2:20.

How many classes will my child have each day?

Each student will have a total of five classes per day at approximately 65 minutes per block. Central Montgomery Technical High School students will attend three blocks in the morning, Bonus Block, lunch and then report to PM Tech.

How long are student lunches?

Student lunches will continue to be thirty (30) minutes in length per day following an A, B, or C schedule (based upon the student’s fourth block class). Since we will have a Centralized Cafeteria at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School (beginning March 2015), all students will enjoy lunch in a common cafeteria!

Will there be Bonus Block?

Yes. Bonus Block will continue under the same guidelines and model as the 2015-16 school year. The time will change, however, with the timeframe now being from 10:59 AM-11:29 AM. Clubs, activities, remediation, enrichment, advisory and Bonus Block “home days” will all continue to occur during this timeframe.

When will the parents and students be informed of the detailed changes?

The Five Block Informational Meeting for all parents is scheduled on Thursday, February 25th at 6:30 PM (prior to Program Planning Night). At the Informational session, we will review the graduation requirements, course selection process and new course offerings.

What is the COURSE SELECTION timeline for the 2016-17 school year?