Excuse me!

All about getting an excused block in your schedule


Anna Grace Riegle, editor in chief

What are excused blocks?

Excused blocks, or early release and late arrival, are when eligible students are excused from a block at the beginning or end of the school day. Similar to a study block, students can have one fewer class in their schedule, but instead of being in a classroom, students are excused from that block entirely. This means that late arrival students do not need to be present at school until the beginning of second block and early release students are able to leave after third block

Who can get an excused block?

Upperclassmen who are on track to graduate with the required credits are eligible for excused blocks. Like study blocks, students can request up to two excused blocks. 

The form required to be granted an excused block explains that “students must have earned a 2.0 grade point average or higher in the previous semester and have an overall GPA of 2.0 to be considered for a waiver of full-day enrollment. Additionally, students must have passed all SOL tested courses and earned the accompanying verified credit(s). The waiver may be revoked by the principal for poor grades, low attendance, disruptive or uncooperative behavior on the part of the student.”

Senior Cailyn Wilson applied and was granted early release.

 “I just felt like if I don’t need to take a class and I have all my required credits then there is no reason for me to be here,” said senior Cailyn Wilson. 

How do you get an excused block?

Eligible students can request an excused block year round through this form; hard copies are available in the guidance office. Adding an excused block during the school year may require moving around your schedule to accommodate it. If and when the request is approved, students’ schedule should update in StudentVue to say “Excused Block.” Once this is settled, students can pick up an excused block pass in the office, which security or staff members may ask to see.

Why would I get an excused block?

“I got early release because I kind of just wanted to get out early,” said senior Leeian Lee. “I’d rather get out early for fun so I could just chill for an hour myself.”

Late arrival gives students more time to sleep in or get ready for school in the morning, while early release is an opportunity to get more accomplished after school. Either way, students have more time to invest in themselves in both their personal and academic lives. 

“I love early release, because I can get out early, and I don’t have to hustle to make it to the cafeteria to finish my food during a short lunch [in order to] make it in time for the next class,” said senior Ezra Decastro. “I also don’t have to worry about even packing up my final class of the day. I can take my time finishing my exit ticket or chat a little bit with the teacher about class topics, and that has been a pretty nice luxury.”

Academically, students can invest the extra time in harder classes, since there is more time to do homework and rest after school. In terms of personal lives, excused blocks give students more time to recharge after school, work jobs, or hang out with friends and family. 

“I like it because it gives me a head start on work or anything I have to do outside of school because I am very busy with sports and work after school,” said Wilson. “It also gives you a preview of what college life will be like considering I only have a certain amount of classes and only have to be at school for a certain amount of time.”

But there are certain risks that come with excused blocks. Students have less room and flexibility in their schedules. Electives are harder to accommodate, since all required classes must fit in six or seven blocks instead of eight. This leaves students giving up some of the classes they might want to take, and ultimately leaves students with fewer credits when they graduate. 

“I like just leaving early,” said Lee. “[I like] going out myself with the free time I have, but I kind of regret it in a way because I feel like I’m wasting my senior year by just leaving.”

With early release, students have nowhere to go during fourth block. So, if a student is involved in an after-school activity, they must find somewhere to stay for fourth block, or leave the school for the duration of the block and return when class is over. But this time to spare before after school activities can also be rewarding.

“I think early release has positively affected my involvement after school,” said Decastro. “Since I can get out earlier, I actually don’t have to worry about carrying all of my things with me throughout the day. I have time to prepare for the next big thing at home; since I play volleyball after school, I can pack my things for an upcoming game, stretch, and eat a snack. Things are a lot more free form for my schedule after school, same for practices too.”

Ultimately, students opt for excused blocks for a variety of reasons. Some need the time to recharge, others need it for jobs or other obligations outside of school, while others just want to take advantage of the privileges that come with being an upperclassman.