Potomac Tumbles Into a New Schedule

Long block classes will be reduced by 5 minutes and meet at varying times on a 6-day rotation.


Kate Tuttle, Editor-in-Chief

At an Upper School meeting on April 12, Potomac administrators unveiled a new schedule for 2023-2024. This schedule is intended to be the last major change in a series of schedules that students have followed since Covid hit.

The “tumbling” schedule, which is the product of the school’s collaboration with a consultant, continues the pattern of long block classes, which meet every other day. (Each day will be a “1” or a “2” day.) However, the order rotates, so that a class that meets in the first period on Monday meets in the last period on Wednesday. The schedule adds a daily “Community” block between the first and second periods, which may be used for advisory meetings, short Club meetings, and other gatherings.

Megan Rowe, co-leader of the new Happy Coral Club said, “I found it especially difficult to plan activities and buy materials in time for club meetings this year because we had such short notice of when clubs blocks were going to be held.” She continued, “I feel that this change will allow my club to grow and benefit from increased community interest.”

To allow for the Community time, long block classes blocks have been further shortened from 75 to 70 minutes. Some teachers are concerned that the decrease in class time, coupled with the permanent elimination of “anchor days” in which all classes meet, move classes further from the number recommended for some AP classes.

In one “Advanced ” language class, our textbook recommends 98 lessons to cover the required AP course material; a number that does not take into account the class time needed for review, quizzes, and tests. Setting aside eight classes for testing and four for review, as one Potomac teacher recommended, would raise the number to 110. In the current Potomac schedule, there are only 70-75 class meetings before AP exams begin in early May.

Most students, however, are pleased that anchor days did not make a comeback. Sophomore Zach Dalva-Baird said, “Last year, the night before an anchor day would be stressful because we would have an hour of homework for each class that was due the next day. The block schedule is nice because we only have three classes of homework per night.”

The 2023-2024 schedule will continue this year’s pilot of a conference block at the end of each day, which reduces time lost to early dismissal for athletics. Junior Meera Vadlamani is a fan of conference periods, which, she says, gives her the opportunity to meet with teachers.