By: Aniela Gesing
Warren County School District has recently agreed to participate in a high school reform. The school district’s reason for the reform is to potentially maximize learning time in the classroom and to eliminate any wasted periods of study halls and electives.
While the district sees value in such a “reform,” there are some obvious flaws in the plan. The district is looking to lengthen all high school class periods to 50 minutes, while shortening the middle level to match the 50 minute time frame. This move is not beneficial for our high school students. Teenagers have an attention span that is only decreasing as we move into a more modern era, where teens are exposed to constant stimuli at all times. According to nbcnews.com, in 2000, researchers found that the attention span of a teenager was twelve seconds long on any specific topic. In 2013, researchers revisited their data collection and found that the attention span of teenagers had decreased by four seconds and now lasted a total of eight seconds. These numbers continue to drop as of today. There has been a sudden concern among students and teachers of the Warren County School District as to whether the additional minutes added on to each class period will essentially benefit students. If the attention span of a teenager is continuously decreasing, why would it be helpful to increase class periods?
Along with longer class periods, students are also concerned with the new first period start time, which is being moved earlier to 7:55 a.m., from the previous high school homeroom start time of 8:10 a.m. and first period start time of 8:30 a.m. Students argue that the decided time is extremely early, and that it will be hard to focus during class at an earlier start time.
Many students at Eisenhower are involved in sports. With the new reform, study halls will be hard to come by, and many students who participate in sports use their study hall to finish homework before a late night of sporting events. It is arguable that the lengthened school day will cut into student’s personal life. Yes, a twenty-two minute difference does not sound like much; however, when students are also given two or more hours of homework a night, that twenty-two minutes truly does begin to cut into the personal lives of students. Now that the window of free-time a student has is being shortened, that leaves less time for students to balance extracurriculars, sleep, and any other organization they might be involved in outside of school. If students do not get the break they need between their studies, they will begin to give up or be less involved out of total exhaustion.
The Squire sat down with junior, Delaney Nizzi, to discuss her thoughts on the newly proposed high school reform.
The Squire: Do you think the reform is beneficial?
Delaney Nizzi: No, I don’t, because there will limited class periods and less class periods for students to learn.
TS: How do you feel about coming to school earlier?
DN: It isn’t good, because that means I will have to leave my house earlier.
TS: Has the reform interfered with any of the classes you wanted to take during the 2018-2019 school year?
DN: No, because I have taken all the classes I wanted to take. Now, I’m just trying to graduate.
TS: How do you feel about the reform cutting into your extracurricular activities?
DN: I think it’s taking away from my life, and cutting into personal hours.
TS: How do you feel having a shortened homeroom and an advisory period during the middle of the day?
DN: I need homeroom to get homework done, and now I won’t have that time. I think advisory will be a mess in the middle of the day. I’m not sure all students will take advisory seriously.
There is no need to try to fix a system that is not broken. The school district should focus on bigger problems such as, unreliable technology, unfortunate text book conditions, and the lack of making accommodations for scholarly programs that increase student involvement and creativity, such as the journalism program. Although there may be many ways to improve the quality of education students are receiving, reforming the schedule is not one of them.