BKT Changes; Helpful or Harmful?


Photo used under SPCL guidelines.

Frances Reynolds, Staff Writer

Charlottesville City Schools has implemented a new schedule this year. This new schedule includes only two block days a week,  therefore resulting in only one Black Knight Time a week. Our new principal this year, Mr. Pitt, addressed our new schedule and reduced BKT saying that, “three hours a week would be the ideal amount of time,” and that he sees it as important for students as an opportunity for enrichment. Mr. Pitt made an important statement that he sees BKT as a time to “advance, enrich, and support” our students, and he was not responsible for the change in schedule this year. 


High schoolers at CHS have used BKT for as long as any student or teacher can remember as a study hall and unstructured work time. It’s meant to be used to get caught up on homework, meet with teachers, take assessments, and so much more. From a random survey taken of our student body last year, 98% of students say that they liked BKT time to do homework and other activities, and 90% said that they would greatly appreciate more BKT time to get all of their work done. Students in this survey gave responses like “[BKT is a] nice to get a chance to get work done, but [it] is too short to complete projects for all 7 classes, especially when you need to take a test or quiz,” and “So much happens in BKT- retaking, homework, lessons, clubs, meetings, etc., and you rarely have enough time to do what you need.” Responses from this randomized survey show how vital BKT is for our students, and even when we had double the amount of time, it still never felt like enough for high school students swamped with work and stress. Since this survey was taken when our BKT time was double what it is this year, it displays that students feel even more dire need for study hall and unstructured time. 


Teachers have voiced their concerns that BKT was getting out of hand last year, and that too many students weren’t using their time wisely because some spent the time napping, on their phones, playing basketball in the gym, or just conversing with their peers. An alternative argument to this view that BKT should be used as strictly work time is that these students who are considered “off task” may have needed to blow off steam during that time. Being a high school student with a heavy workload, and future plans on the brain 24/7 is mentally draining. Playing sports in the gym, catching up on life with friends, napping, or even just vegging out on phones can all be  healthy ways to calm down, and destress from the day. 


Students this year have said that they “always need more time to get [their] hours of work done,” and “if [they are] taking a nap, it is because [they] needed one, and not because [they] are off task.” Given the surplus of benefits of BKT, and students that feel like they need more BKT time, our school system should consider implementing our old schedule with about 3 hours of BKT a week.