To whomever it may concern,
As a sophomore who plans to stay at Federal Hocking rather than go to Tri-County, I believe switching to 40-minute class periods would cause more problems than solutions. The main reason cited in the class meetings for the switch is test scores, specifically in our math department. Switching to a 40-minute class time would reduce the amount of instruction time in the class. There is a requirement that there are at least 180 school days for students, and in an 80-minute class time, you would have about 70 minutes of instruction, given 5 minutes to get the class settled down and 5 to clean/pack up, which is about 6,300 minutes or 105 hours for 90 days. In 40-minute classes, there are only about 30 minutes of instruction time every day under the same circumstances. This is 5,400 minutes, or 90 hours, for a whole school year. That extra 15 hours could be used to help students understand the subject better, before pushing homework onto them, helping students prepare more for the State Tests.
My second concern includes clubs. I am a member of many clubs in the school. I am an Art Club officer, the Historian for the Business Professionals of America team, and I am also a part of the Gay-Straight Alliance Club, as well as the Yearbook team. Should we move to the 40-minute classes, the only day for clubs at lunch would be Friday, as outlined by Mr. Amlin. One half-hour lunch a week is not enough time for all of these clubs. Being able to have club meetings every day has allowed me to explore my interests and stick with them. Clubs are also great for finding friends who have similar interests.
Another concern I have is homework. A 40-minute class time is not enough time to introduce a topic, teach it, and do homework. I’ve had lectures that lasted almost an hour, but the lectures helped me understand the subject better, so I was able to complete the homework before class let out. If we moved to the 40-minute classes, students would be stuck with homework for all 8 classes, and in the case of someone like me, there’s not enough time to do it, and some students don’t have internet connection at home. On the nights I have after-school activities, such as Marching Band, Jazz Band, or Drama club, I am not home until about 4:45. I am also a part of community plays in Nelsonville, which is about a half-hour drive from where I live. I have to be in Nelsonville at 6 on the nights of those play rehearsals, and I don’t get home until almost 10:00. Then, I have to come home and go straight to bed because I have to get up at 6 in the morning. This leaves me with the 45 minutes I’m home between school and Nelsonville to do my homework. I know students who go to schools on an 8-class schedule, and they are left with hours of homework every night.
The last thing I would like to mention is that a majority of students I have talked to have agreed that switching to an 8-class schedule would not benefit them or their learning. Many others agree that the new schedule would cause too much stress on top of Senior Projects, Portfolios and Jobs that students need to help provide for their families. By switching to the 40-minute classes, our school loses its individuality. There are many students who come to this school because they prefer a block schedule and if we were to switch, there would be nothing keeping the student body here other than their friends or teachers they really like.
First of all Adam, thank you for your email!
Your opinions are shared ones. Many people in our student body have had great concerns about the proposed school schedule for the next year. It’s a harsh change to adjust to. It makes it difficult for a high schooler to have confidence in what their future here may look like. This uncertainty often causes anxiety and alarm. However, this seems to go unnoticed by the decision makers. The new way does little to directly benefit the students, but this is not dwelled upon. It seems that the students’ true feelings are being pushed away. There’s no balanced give-and-take. It’s a lot of giving on the part of the students, and a lot of take on the part of the decision maker. Your feelings are 100% valid when it comes to this. Now let’s discuss the options we have for the future.
As the student body, we may be minors, but we are still protected under the 1st Amendment. We have every right to peacefully protest for a cause we believe is worthy. There are many ways we can do so. This includes flyers, specific choice of clothing, and petitioning. You are even able to protest during school hours. However, you should be aware of your rights when planning more large-scale protests. For example, you have a right to a walkout, but your school can take measures to prevent you from doing so. You can also be punished for skipping class, if that applies to the timeframe of your protest. If you choose to take further action, I advise you to start lowkey and grow louder as time goes on. Send out petitions. Hand out flyers. Do small scale protests during your free time. If progress is not made, that’s when I’d suggest partaking in larger rallies.
Even if you choose not to take this any further, just sending in this letter is a good way to safely protest. Thanks to the freedom of press, we as a student union are able to freely express opinions in our school news feed (as long as it’s appropriate). When your letter and my reply are published, it will once again bring the schedule situation to light.
Once again, Adam, thank you for your email! I hope my reply helped bring your concerns to light and assist you in your quest for change.
- Editor in Chief: Jozlyn Bew