CRLS Reflects on Falcon Block After One Semester

Margaret Unger, Managing Editor

For years, CRLS students met daily between first and second period for a short homeroom period called Community Meeting or “CM.” Several changes to CM were made over the past few years, culminating in the launch of Falcon Block this school year. Falcon Block is held twice a week, on Thursdays and Fridays, from 9:55 AM to 10:30 AM. On Thursdays, students meet in larger “Falcon Pathways,” and on Fridays, in smaller “Falcon Balance” groups. This revamped system was designed to both provide valuable academic and social-emotional support to all students and allow them to receive specific individualized interventions when necessary.

Falcon Block provides a valuable opportunity for a break between classes.

For many students, Falcon Block provides a valuable opportunity for a break between classes. Kiri-Anna Kingsbury Lee ’24 told the Register Forum, “I think a lot of students are grateful for the break … students definitely need to de-stress toward the end of the week.” Tate Schoenau ’26 echoed this sentiment, telling the Register Forum, “I like this space. It’s a pretty good place to get homework done.”

Deans Susie Van Blaricum and Susie Espinosa described the Falcon Block planning process to the Register Forum: “There is a Falcon Block planning committee that meets at least once per week and met many hours at the end of the school year and throughout the summer planning for this year.” They also explained how this process differs slightly between grade levels, noting that “Grade 9 is probably the most differentiated from other grades.” CRLS teacher Ms. Rachel Otty, who has a freshman Falcon Block, shared with the Register Forum how Falcon Block has helped her students navigate CRLS life, saying, “One thing that was nice early on was having a set of activities to help us get to know each other and to help the students get adjusted to CRLS.” 

Some students, however, have expressed a preference for the less-structured time that defined the old CM schedule. Kingsbury Lee reflected, “CM was more simple and less ambitious last year, which I appreciated.” Students have also noted the impact of Falcon Block on Freshman Mentoring. Mentor Marika Hollister ’24 told the Register Forum, “The switch to Falcon [Block] has significantly shifted the relationships between mentors and the freshmen … I feel as though there is a disconnect and lack of interest from the freshmen due to the lack of frequency we visit them and how they associate our visits with having to complete the tedious and honestly pointless Falcon [Block] work.”

While Falcon Block marked a significant change to the CRLS schedule, and students have mixed perspectives on it one semester in, results from a survey administered by CRLS and shared with the Register Forum indicate that the vast majority of students feel supported by their Falcon Block teachers. Additionally, they believe their teachers have taken time to get to know them, care about them, and want them to succeed. These important relationships between students, teachers, and peers remain at the core of Falcon Block, regardless of its name.

This article also appears in our February 2023 print edition.