Time for eight-period school days

Alizah Qadri, Editor-in-chief 2018-2019

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At its January meeting, Plainfield School District 202 board members asked the community to offer feedback about the possibility of switching from a seven-period day to an eight-period day.

The additional class period would not lengthen the school day or the school year as class periods would be shortened by ten minutes or so. The consideration was also proposed because it would place our school district in line with many  neighboring high schools.

School board members should implement an eight-period day because an extra class period would allow opportunities for students to enroll in additional classes, fulfill credit requirements, take a second study hall, receive assistance, tutor a peer, sleep later, or leave early.

This list is hardly exhaustive.

Many students struggle to manage their schedules because required courses and time constraints prohibit them from taking extracurricular or additional core classes.

For example, many band and choir students take summer school to make up for courses they do not have time to take during the school year. Symphonic and Concert band students spend their lunch period in music rehearsal. Journalism and yearbook students meet during study hall and lunch.

Students interested in art or language courses must to decide how, if possible, to squeeze in even one art or language course per year with an already packed schedule of math, English, social studies, physical education, science, and required lunch.

Students who wish to try culinary courses, a child development class, or marketing have limited opportunities to explore.

In an East Side News survey, we asked 344 students what they would do if they had an extra period in their day. Of those surveyed, 131 students said they would enroll in an elective; 113 students said they would do early release or late start; 50 said they’d take an extra core class, and 50 said they would take an additional study hall class.”

Students who want a challenge of additional AP or core courses sometimes must opt to learn elsewhere. Even SAT prep courses taught outside of school hours could be scheduled in during the school day at the high schools if an additional class period was offered.

Why should students have to obtain their lessons elsewhere?

The solution is to add another class period.

Implementing an eight-period day would allow students to meet credit requirements and encourage trying new classes and exposure to new ideas. They might even find a passion for a field of work.

Isn’t school about discovery? Give them time and opportunity to explore.

Certainly, there are drawbacks.

Students will have additional homework for an extra class.

The additional costs associated with an eight-period day will impact the school budget.

However, the extra class provides learning opportunities. That is a school district’s main objective.

In an East Side News survey, we asked 344 students what they would do if they had an extra period in their day. Of those surveyed, 131 students said they would enroll in an elective; 113 students said they would do early release or late start; 50 said they’d take an extra core class, and 50 said they would take an additional study hall class.

Some may argue that class will rush, but time can simply be used more efficiently.

Students who are not interested in additional classes or who have fulfilled credits can have an additional study hall or take advantage of late start or early dismissal opportunities.

Implementing an eight-period day would benefit students.

Isn’t that a worthwhile objective?